HSE roundup August 2018

Here are some of the HSE focus areas and hot topics that have been emerging over recent months.

Slight increase in annual figures for workplace fatalities

On 4 July 2018 the HSE released its annual figures for workplace fatal injuries for 2017/18. The data revealed that between April 2017 and March 2018, 144 employees suffered fatal injuries at work in Great Britain. This is an increase of nine when compared to the same period from the previous year.

Workplace fatality figures have reduced steadily since monitoring by the HSE started in 1981 and the slight increase is not in our view evidence of an emerging upwards trend.

Nevertheless, this increase in fatal numbers may make the HSE more determined to crack down on safety matters relating to the most common causes of fatal injuries, which have remained the same as the previous year and are due to:

  • Workers falling from height (35 fatalities)
  • Being struck by a moving vehicle (26 fatalities)
  • Being struck by a moving object (23 fatalities).

Related item: Health and safety performance in the construction industry

The HSE gets involved in Brexit

The HSE has announced that it is contributing to cross-government work which is being coordinated by the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU).

The detail of what the HSE has been involved with to date is limited but we understand that they have been assisting DExEU. This has included considering matters of health and safety regulation to ensure that workers’ rights are protected and a high level of protection continues to be afforded to workers in the UK following its exit from the EU.

Most of the key health and safety legislation in the UK should not be impacted by Brexit. However, there are some areas which will be. In particular regulation relating to chemicals and packaging requirements which derive from EU law might well be impacted. The HSE is working closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business to prepare for the immediate and long term impact of Brexit on UK health and safety issues.

Contact: Stephanie Power

Related item: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017

The HSE has produced guidance in the form of an Approved Code of Practice to provide practical help to those trying to navigate the relatively new Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017.

The regulations apply to a large range of workplaces where radioactive substances and electrical equipment emitting ionising radiation are used. This includes in the mining industry and in hospitals where certain X-ray machines are used. They also apply to work with natural radiation, including work in which people are exposed to naturally occurring radon gas and its decay products (in particular in the oil and gas industry).

Contact: David Wright

Related item: The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 – an overview

Read other items in the Health, Safety and Environment Brief - August 2018