Neal Stone: Signs of improvement in HSE’s annual statistics report

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Neal Stone, Director of Policy and Communications, British Safety Council

HSE’s recently published statistics show strong signs of improvement in Great Britain’s workplace health and safety performance in 2010/11. Both the incidence and number of major and reportable workplace injuries fell significantly in 2010/11.

Both the injury rates for major injuries and injuries over three days have fallen. Days lost due to both work-related ill health and workplace injury have fallen significantly too. The reduction in days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury from 28.4m to 26.4m is another notable improvement bringing with it considerable health, social and economic benefits.

Ill health accounts for 45% of the health and safety incidents, 84% of the related sickness absence and over 99% of the work-related deaths each year. An estimated 10.8 million and 7.4 million days were lost due to stress and musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in 2010/11. The statistics reveal that the incident rate of stress is higher among working women than men. The highest rates of MSD are among workers aged over 45 years.

However it was matter of deep concern that workplace fatalities rose to 171 in 2010/11from 147 in 2009/10. The increase in the number of fatal injuries is a stark reminder that poorly managed health and safety can have devastating consequences for the families, friends and work colleagues. All but a very small number of the workplace injuries and work-related ill health occurrences recorded last year, were, arguably, entirely avoidable.

But workplace fatal injuries are only part of the enormity of work-related deaths. It is estimated that another 600 people die a year in work-related road traffic deaths. HSE estimates that a further 12,000 people are dying each year from work-related diseases, including mesothelioma, the legacy of asbestos and other hazardous substances.

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About Neal Stone

Neal Stone, Head of Policy & Public Affairs, British Safety Council

Neal Stone joined the British Safety Council in May 2008 as Head of Policy and Public Affairs with responsibility for developing BSC’s policies and leading its research on major health and safety issues, representing BSC in its dealing with Government, HSE, other health and safety bodies, employer organisations, trade unions and other key stakeholders. Neal has spoken on behalf of BSC on major issues as the HSE Strategy, director leadership, worker involvement, GB’s health and safety performance and represented BSC at external conferences on issues as safety culture, director leadership, economic incentives, worker involvement and on the accreditation of health and safety practitioners at stakeholder meetings.

Neal chaired the Olympic Delivery Authority's 2009 Health, Safety & Environment Awards judging panel and will be doing so again in 2010.

Prior to joining BSC Neal worked for HSE from 1992-2008. From 2005-2007 he was the policy adviser to the Chair of the HSC, Sir Bill Callaghan, and Commission Members. From 2001-2005 Neal led HSE’s worker involvement and business involvement programmes including HSE’s policy lead on director responsibility for and the management of health and safety, employer liability insurance, worker involvement including the worker safety adviser initiative. Neal led HSE's feasibility and implementation projects on COMAH, Offshore and Railway regulatory charging.

Neal represented HSE on the RoSPA National Health and Safety Committee from 2001/05 and is presently a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers Customer Advisory Group.

Neal has a law degree from the London School of Economics & Political Science (1975), and MSc in Politics & Public Administration from Birkbeck College (1992) and an MPhil research degree in Politics and Public Administration - on the Labour Party and the Civil Service - from the University of Kent (1996).

Neal Stone
Head of Policy and Public Affairs
British Safety Council

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