Fatal workplace injury figures improve, injuries continue

Industry news roundup: week ended 28 Oct 2013:

The Health and Safety Executive might have said that the number of fatal instances of personal injury at work may be on the decline, but injuries still happen.

So here’s the good news: there were 18 per cent fewer fatalities in the UK during the 2011-2012 year when held up against the national five-year average. When you get down to brass tacks, the figure stood at 148 Brits that tragically lost their lives at work, still high but a far cry from the average of 181. That’s 33 fewer lives that were cut short last year, and I’m very gratified to learn about that particular statistic this week!

While it seems on the face of it that work conditions for Brits are getting relatively safer, there are still plenty of injuries that occur at work that don’t result in fatalities. In fact, one particularly noteworthy work accident claim was made recently after a trainee prison guard at Featherstone jail was left with long-lasting injuries after a ‘control and restraint’ technique went awry.

The 35 year old man – whose name has not been made known to the public – sustained enough damage to his right wrist that surgical correction was deemed necessary by his doctors. Even with the surgical procedure, the poor man still has marked difficulties in undertaking everyday tasks.

Is it just me or does it seem like every time we take two steps forward when it comes to making the British workplace safer, we take one step backwards? I mean don’t get me wrong – I’m absolutely thrilled to discover that the fatality rate has dropped by such a significant margin – but what in the world is going on in these training exercises that a trainee ends up injured so severely that he has permanent nerve damage to his wrist? Is this the kinds of standard operating procedure that correctional facilities in the UK have adopted?

I’m not going to sit here and say that we should be treating those convicted of offences with gentleness, but if a prison trainee was injured this badly – ostensibly in a situation where his instructors were simply trying to demonstrate a technique for restraining unruly inmates without causing permanent harm – can you imagine what kind of things are going on behind closed doors? Honestly it makes me a bit sick to think about.

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