'Shocking' toll from workplace falls

A TOTAL of six people died and more than 3,700 were seriously injured last year in the East of England as a result of slipping, tripping or falling at work, new figures reveal.

A TOTAL of six people died and more than 3,700 were seriously injured last year in the East of England as a result of slipping, tripping or falling at work, new figures reveal.

Nationally, 61 people died and more than 14,000 suffered serious injury, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

It described the figures as “shocking” and has launched an awareness campaign in response to them.

The second phase of the Shattered Lives campaign, launched yesterday , highlights the devastating consequences of slips, trips and falls in the workplace and encourages employers to take action.

In the East of England, 3,781 people suffered serious injury as a result of such accidents, and it is estimated that nationally, the fatalities and accidents cost British society around �700million last year.

Within Suffolk and north Essex, there was one death as a result of a fall in Mid Suffolk. In Braintree there were 75 serious injuries, in Chelmsford, 116, in Colchester, 134, Maldon, 21, Tendring, 67, and Uttlesford, 59. In Suffolk, there were 49 serious injuries in Babergh, 57 in Forest Heath, 90 in Ipswich, 49 in Mid Suffolk, 95 in St Edmundsbury, 102 in Suffolk Coastal and 73 in Waveney.

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Marcia Davies, head of the Injury Reduction Programme at the HSE said: “People often view slips, trips and falls as trivial incidents, even comical, but they are no joke to those who suffer major injuries, a lifetime of disability, time off work and in the worst cases, death.

“We want to raise awareness of how these incidents can happen and how they can be easily avoided by taking common sense actions and precautions at no or little cost. If you spot a hazard in your workplace deal with it, don't assume that somebody else will.

“The lives of workers and their families are shattered by the serious consequences of these types of accidents. Simple measures introduced by businesses can make a positive difference to safety in the workplace.”

The Shattered Lives campaign is targeted at seven areas where there is a prevalence of such injuries - food retail, catering and hospitality, food and drink manufacturing, building and plant maintenance, construction, and healthcare and education.

To help firms take preventive action, the HSE has launched STEP, an interactive learning package which provides practical guidance, which is available at www.hse.gov.uk/slips/step/index.htm.