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From the CEO's Desk

11 September 2015

In last month’s HSM magazine I took the opportunity through this column to highlight the publication by the Health and Safety Executive of the 2014 / 2015 preliminary report on fatal injuries in the workplace in Great Britain (www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/).

The report showed that there were 142 worker deaths in the year to the end of March 2015 which was an increase from the 136 deaths recorded in the previous year.

One of my main motivations for highlighting the report and its’ findings was as a reminder that occupational safety cannot be neglected at a time when there is a growing focus on health as the primary concern for the industry.

The value of safety and the well-being of the UK working population is fully appreciated by those directly involved in the industry, the professional bodies and the institutions that serve to keep people safe at work. However the old problem of the reputation of "Elf and Safety” being tarnished still remains and our collective responsibility in rebuilding the image of safety and health and with it the understanding that good safety is something to be proud of must remain a very high priority.

No sooner had I completed last month’s piece when the most stark reminder of this situation presented itself.

This came in the form of an article in the Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/) which dealt with the tragic death of a 16 year old, in a workplace accident, fatally injured by a lathe which had no safety guards! While the judge accepted that safety had not consciously been sacrificed to safe money the lack of instruction and use of such inexperienced labour was a significant factor.

The sole director of the company where the young man worked was jailed. What was also alarming in this article was the fact that this 16 year old was placed in the factory by a training company on a government approved apprentice scheme. The training company which placed the young man were fined heavily for failing to ensure the health and safety of the young man.

Apart from recording this tragic story and highlighting the dreadful consequences for the individual and his family the thrust of the article was clear that health and safety is vitally important and that we should all remember cases like this when health and safety is derided.

We should remember that when we read statistics like 142 fatalities in the UK Workplace in 2014 there are 142 individuals with names who have lost their lives.

This young person was called Cameron Minshull and our thoughts go out to his family.

I would like to thank Paul Routledge distinguished columnist and political author for highlighting this situation and reminding readers that health and safety is a serious matter. Treating safety any other way erodes respect for this vital need.

Safety matters!

Alan Murray, BSIF chief executive

Tel: 01745 585600