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Caithness News Bulletins September 2005

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HSE launches campaign as workplace falls top 40,000 and reach almost 4,000 in Scotland.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today launches the Watch Your Step campaign to highlight the serious impact falls have on both the injured party and UK businesses. In Scotland alone, falls account for almost 4,000 serious injuries each year (3,727 in 2003/04) and in over 90% of cases the injured person is absent from work for at least one week.

Falls are the most common cause of workplace injuries and the number recorded has increased each year for the last five years. Last year, they topped 40,000 (42,260) and cost the economy approximately 800 million, of which 500 million is directly borne by UK businesses.

The cross-industry campaign, which involves a partnership programme with Local Authorities and other stakeholders, aims to encourage
people to take the risks seriously and raise awareness about simple, cost-effective measures that can be put in place to reduce the human and financial burden.

Justin McCracken, Acting Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive, said: "Slips and trips are often seen as a bit of a joke.
Although much of the time, we're able to get up and brush ourselves down with nothing more serious than injured pride, all too often the injury is more serious. During a normal working day, one person falls and seriously hurts themself in a British workplace every three
minutes. Given that these are only reported incidents, the actual figure will be significantly higher,"

There are three main causes of falls, which can be easily minimised:

  • Slips on wet and dry Clean or report spillages immediately substances

  • Trips over obstacles in walkways Tidy up as you go and keep such as cables, products all walkways clear furniture and fittings

  •  Human factors including failure to report and manage Don't just see it, sort it risks

"It is estimated that each workplace fall costs an average of 25,000 when absenteeism, insurance, wage and civil liability costs are taken into consideration. This is not a laughing matter for any business but could be particularly crippling for small businesses. The good
news is that many incidents are preventable by carrying out regular risk assessments and encouraging all employees to be vigilant to the
risks and think seriously about how they can ensure a safer workplace - our message to everyone is don't just see it, sort it" Justin
McCracken continued.

The Watch Your Step campaign offers both employers and employees in all sectors concise, practical tips on how to minimise risks. These are available via a dedicated microsite www.watchyourstep.hse.gov.uk  and helpline 0845 345 0055.

More Information
The Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are responsible for the regulation of almost all the
risks to health and safety arising from work activity in the UK.

Watch Your Step campaign
The HSE's Watch Your Step campaign is a major national initiative that focuses on raising awareness about the financial and personal
costs and causes of falls at work.

Health and Safety Statistics Highlights 2003/04
This sets out the latest statistics on work-related fatalities, injuries and ill health in the UK. The key new statistics this year
are 2003/04 data on non-fatal injuries notified under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), along with injury data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and ill health data from the 2003/04 Self-reported Work-related Illness (SWI) survey. The report and further statistics from the Health & Safety Executive can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/statistics .

PUBLIC ENQUIRIES: HSE InfoLine, tel: 0845 345 0055, visit:
www.hse.gov.uk/contact  or write to: HSE InfoLine, Caerphilly Business Park, Caerphilly CF83 3GG.

HSE information and press releases can be accessed on the Internet:

Information on HSE in Scotland can be found at