Appeal to Merseyside
employers as new figures underline importance of workplace safety
BRITAIN'S safety watchdog is marking
its 40th anniversary with an appeal for Merseyside businesses to make the
wellbeing of workers their top priority for the new financial year.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is highlighting new figures which show
that 3 people lost their lives while at work in Merseyside in 2013/14 and 1,820
suffered injury. That compares to 2 deaths and 1,800 injuries in the county the
Statistics were also released showing the scale of workplace illness. Across the
North West, some 120,000 people were estimated to have been made ill through
their work over the same period.
Nationally, across Great Britain, there were 133 deaths at work in 2013/14, more
than 79,500 injuries were formally reported and over 1.1 million people are
estimated to have been made ill.
That is a huge reduction from when HSE was formally established in January 1975
to enforce the:- 'Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974' – the statute that
underpins all health and safety legislation, and that is credited with making
the UK one of the safest places to work in the world.
In 1974/75 a total of 651 employees alone were killed, and that is without
including self employed workers whose deaths were not recorded in the same way.
The latest figures show that those involved in construction, manufacturing and
waste and recycling are most at risk today, with agriculture another industry
where sustained improvement is needed. Local employers are being urged to review
whether they can do more to protect their workforce.
Areas of particular concern include falls from height; work on machinery that is
poorly maintained and guarded; and failing to properly manage workplace
Steven Smith, HSE's Head of Operations for the North West, said:- "The
families of the workers in the North West who sadly lost their lives last year
have just had to spend the festive period without their loved ones, while
hundreds of other workers were made ill through their work or had their lives
changed forever by a major injury.
The figures offer encouragement that we are continuing to head in the right
direction, but they also show that we can still go further and challenge the
industries where there is room to do more. Workplace conditions have improved
dramatically in the past four decades, but as employers plan and prepare for the
new financial year they need to ensure that health, safety and welfare is a
HSE Chair Judith Hackitt added:- "In the 40 years since HSE was formed,
we've worked with businesses, workers and government to make Britain a healthier
and safer place to work.
Thousands of serious injuries have been prevented and work related deaths have
reduced by 85%. HSE has helped Britain become one of the safest places
to work in the world.
But we must also recognise that there is still a big challenge to prevent the
suffering which does still occur. Seeing the annual statistics always leads to
mixed emotions, sympathy for those who have suffered injury themselves and for
the families and workmates of those who have lost their lives, determination to
improve things further as well as encouragement that we are continuing to make
progress in reducing the toll of suffering.
For the last 8 years we have consistently recorded one of the lowest rates of
fatal injuries to workers among the leading industrial nations in Europe.
However, in HSE's 40th year it is right that we acknowledge the progress we've
made and look to a future of striving to bring down these statistics even
Information on tackling health and safety dangers in workplaces is available on
businesses dissatisfied with their broadband service
NEW FSB research finds
criticisms over reliability, speed, service levels and switching
despite the growing importance of broadband for business.
A total of 30% of small business owners across the North West said
they are 'somewhat unsatisfied' or 'very
by the overall broadband service for their businesses,
according to a survey carried out by the Federation of Small
34% say the same about the reliability of their broadband
specifically. Further, 40% are unsatisfied with upload speeds and
just under 43% with the download speeds they experience. In
addition, in excess of 35% are dissatisfied with their mobile voice
coverage and more than 37% with their mobile data coverage. However,
landline reliability fares better with slightly fewer than 14% not
satisfied with this.
Service levels and switching
When there are problems with the service, almost 32% are
dissatisfied with the speed of fault repairs and just under 32% with
the customer service they receive. 19% experience daily problems
with their broadband.
Despite this, 30% are not satisfied with the ease of switching
providers. In all, almost 31% are dissatisfied with the length of
their contracts and slightly fewer than 33% with the clarity of
The importance of broadband for business
The importance of broadband for business is clear. In all, just over
76% of FSB members in the North West say email is 'critical'
and that it is 20% 'very important.' For web browsing it is
42% and 31%, engaging with customers is 50% and 30%, engaging with
suppliers 35% and 33%, marketing 35% and 31% social media 17% and
17% and internet banking is 43% and 40% respectively. For online
trading it is 25% and 15%. A total of 10% of North West businesses
surveyed say broadband is critical for exporting and just under 11%
that it is very important. In every area FSB members indicate that
this importance will increase over the next two years.
'2–speed digital economy'
Across the UK as a whole, the FSB has uncovered a '2-speed
digital economy,' with 49% of rural small businesses
dissatisfied with the quality of their broadband provision - almost
double the level of dissatisfaction compared to urban small
businesses (28% dissatisfied).
Elaine Moore, Chairman of FSB Merseyside, West Cheshire and Wigan
the Federation of Small Businesses, said:- "Doing business
online is becoming increasingly important - some 96% of FSB members
say broadband is a key business requirement; so it is very
concerning that we are still in a situation where more than a third
of small businesses in the North West view their unreliable
connection as a major barrier to growth. These gaps and
weaknesses; including the '2-speed digital
economy' between rural and urban areas; need to be addressed as a
matter of priority with a minimum of 10 Mbps to all business
premises by 2018/19, and a pledge to deliver minimum speeds of
100Mbs to all by 2030."
Improvements to the UK's broadband provision have been made in
recent years, with 16% of rural businesses now having access to
super fast broadband and more packages targeted at the needs of
business, but the FSB believes that more could be done. The
Government's strategy to deliver 24Mbps broadband to 95% of all
users by 2017 is not sufficiently ambitious, especially for the five
per cent of mainly rural businesses left receiving just 2Mbps, which
is barely sufficient for even basic tasks like sending commercial
As a result of the findings laid out in its 'Fourth Utility'
report, the FSB is calling for Government to conduct a comprehensive
review of broadband policy. This includes measures to encourage more
competition for better packages in the business broadband market, a
commitment to accelerate the roll-out of 4G mobile services and
prioritisation of fibre-optic provision to business parks and