I would like to start this blog by stating that health and safety for me, is an absolute passion. Any student, friend, colleague or family member that knows me, will all agree that I 100% believe in H&S. I would also like to say that I am not writing this blog with any other intention than to help press forward with good H&S standards in the UK and beyond.
We at Lighthouse Safety have been teaching and advising on H&S for many years, we stand in front of many students each day ranging from NEBOSH Students to IOSH/CITB and at the start of every course, we normally explain the current situation of H&S in the UK. Of which we always explain the fatality statistics over the past few years and common fatality causes.
The current statistics are 144 fatalities in 2015/16, of which, falls from height, falling objects & moving vehicles are the biggest three killers. Most H&S professionals could probably have recited those statistics. Now it must be said early on, that 144 deaths in a year is far too many, one is too much and it should be the primary objective of any H&S professional to work as hard as possible to achieve ZERO!
But I want to look deeper into the statistics. There was, last year, an estimated 621,000 non-fatal injuries sustained to the UK workforce. Now keep that statistic in your mind for the next few lines.
I want to take you somewhere completely different. To the BBC! Particularly a programme called ‘AN HOUR TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.’ The programme is simply a camera crew following a paramedic unit to an accident. Producing a documentary insight into the care and medical effort to save someone’s life by the NHS. It really is a truly magnificent programme as you get to see how brave and amazing our NHS Service is, in all its glory.
I sat one night and watched a man’s journey after being hit by a bus. The casualty was suffering internal bleeding and severe head injuries. The Paramedic who attended the scene openly admitted on the programme, that he performed on the side of the road, a lifesaving technique that 5 years prior to that event, he would have never even considered doing due to lack of technology that was available at that time. I am no paramedic, so cannot tell you what that technique was or what it was called, but it was breath taking to watch and made me feel proud of our services. The casualty in question made a full recovery (SPOILER – SORRY) and continued his life happily. Amazing!!!!
What has this got to do with H&S Statistics? The figure I left you with was 621,000 non-fatal injuries 2015/16. My first question to put to you all is this- Are we better at preventing accidents at work or better at keeping people alive following an accident? One could argue that last year there was 621,000 potentially fatal injuries. So, I suppose the next question would be- How many had the potential to cause a death? I suppose all of them have the potential! But please think about it, there was over 621,000 injuries! Even if half of them had the potential to cause death that’s over 300,000 lifesaving medical provisions needed! Okay let’s dive deeper. All the stats that I have used are from the HSE, and a link to the publications is here, so I have broken them down a little:
In the 621,000 injuries last year:
37,000 Injuries from falling from height
44,000 Moving Machinery
61,000 moving objects
142,000 total injuries from the top three killers in the UK
So, as a H&S professional, I will stick my neck on the line and say that there were at least 142,000 potential deaths that could have happened last year, but what stopped them being fatalities? H&S Management? Whose job it is to prevent the accident, or the NHS? Whose job it is to keep people alive?
I have another question to ask on these statistics, how many are permanently injured and how many cannot return to work? I sadly, have been a carer for my Father who for a period of time was disabled. It individually decimated the lives of my entire family. It was hard to watch someone who I held to be so precious to me, become so helpless. Having to help with that life changing event has left a mark on my family bigger than any other, and it still does today. How many of the 142,000 are permanently injured? How many have to rely on family to help them live? How many Cannot get out of bed without help?
These statistics, by the HSE’s own admission have remained similar for the last 6/7 years. For the past 6/7 years there has been the same amount of accidents but a falling trend of fatalities. So I’ll ask again and I encourage a response from all H&S professionals, Is the NHS Making our Statistics look better than what they actually are?
At Lighthouse Safety, we have created a culture of dedicating our daily profession to keeping people safe. Our Company moto is Changing Minds and Shaping Futures, because that what we do. We potentially Change the Minds of thousands each year to a more positive embracing mind set and so we therefore Shape the Futures of everyone we help, it’s our passion and it is what makes Lighthouse Safety Training shine above all else, it is what will help us to eventually wipe out workplace accidents & illnesses.