The British Safety Council, while welcoming the continued downward trend in the published HSE statistics in workplace fatalities and major injuries, urges the government and Lord Young to take great care in the planned reforms of health and safety.

Neal Stone, head of policy and public affairs says: “Although workplace fatal and major injuries fell in 2009/10 the stark reality is that 152 workers were killed and more than 26,000 suffered major injuries. These are real people not cold statistics. They must not be forgotten.

The fine of £1 imposed at Preston Crown Court on Glenmill Group this week following conviction for breach of health and safety law which contributed to worker Peter Walton’s death, sends out all of the wrong messages.

Thousands of workers are still being injured or made ill by work – the 2009/10 stats are evidence that Peter Walton’s preventable death was not an exception but sadly an all too frequent occurrence in a society that has still to grasp the harm and loss that poorly managed health and safety brings. A £1 fine is an insult to Peter Walton’s family.”