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'Shattered Lives' could affect you, says the UK Health and Safety Executive

March 2008

Every 25 minutes, someone in the UK breaks or fractures a bone at work according to the latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The HSE has now launched the 'Shattered Lives' campaign, to highlight the devastating consequences of simple slips, trips and falls - including falls from height - in the workplace.

The figures are alarming - every week, one person dies from a slip, trip or fall at work and the serious injuries from slips, trips and falls make up almost a third of all injuries reported to the HSE.

Introducing the 'Shattered Lives' campaign, Dr Elizabeth Gibby, Head of the Injuries Reduction Programme, HSE said, "Each year slips, trips and falls cost the British society nearly £811 million pounds with £31 million of this coming from the catering and hospitality industry. But what these figures don't reflect, is the extent to which these injuries affect individual workers and their families.

Slips, trips and falls can be viewed as being minor, funny accidents but the effects are not. It can lead to major injuries, and a lifetime of disability or time off work and in worst cases, fatalities. 'Shattered Lives' will encourage people to change their attitudes: if you spot a hazard, don't assume 'somebody else will sort it out'.

Slips, trips and falls can also have a shattering effect on businesses through costs such as employee absence, sick pay and reduced productivity. Irrespective of the size of the business and the job that you do, it could happen to you."

HSE's Shattered Lives campaign will offer guidance to employers and employees in the construction, building and plant maintenance and food manufacturing and retail industries where the incidence of injuries resulting from slips, trips and falls is highest.

Think how these figures are multiplied worldwide - and calculate the cost in your country.

  1. The Health and Safety Commission is responsible for health and safety regulation in Great Britain. The Health and Safety Executive and local government are the enforcing authorities who work in support of the Commission.
  2. Last year over a third of injuries from slips, trips and falls reported to the HSE, originated in the food manufacturing and food retail industries and in catering and hospitality, over 10 major injuries a week are reported. Of the almost 11,000 injuries reported to the HSE last year from slips, trips and falls in the sectors targeted through this campaign, nearly half (46%) were from the construction, building and plant maintenance industries.
  3. To view UK regional breakdown of slips, trips and falls incidents and industry specific statistics for food retail, food manufacturing, construction building and plant maintenance, catering and hospitality please visit www.hse.gov.uk/news/2008/shatteredlives.htm.