International Workers Memorial Day: Hundreds of Coventry workers injured at their jobs last year
As workers, employers and unions commemorate International Workers Memorial Day on Friday, new figures show Hundreds of Coventry workers reported suffering injuries at their jobs last year.
However, the figures were questioned by unions, who said deaths from certain sectors were not included, as well as from work-related illnesses such as asbestos exposure.
The GMB trade union said it is "extremely sceptical" that the current data shows the full story, and claimed there are issues with under-reporting.
The latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive – known as Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations – show 331 people reported suffering injuries at work in Coventry in 2021-22 – up from 300 the year before.
But this was down from 377 in 2018-19, before the coronavirus pandemic.
Across Great Britain, 61,700 workers reported non-fatal injuries in 2021-22 – down from 69,300 in 2018-19.
An injury is recorded if an employee misses the following seven days of work, or if they suffer a fracture, amputation, reduction or loss of sight, serious burn, a head injury which causes unconsciousness, scalping, crush-related injuries, or hypothermia or heat-induced illness caused by working in an enclosed space.
Daniel Shears, national health and safety officer at GMB, said: "Whilst almost all work-related fatalities in the scope of RIDDOR will be reported, by definition this excludes deaths at sea, deaths airside in aviation, all work-related road traffic fatalities, and work-related suicides."
Mr Shears said adding these and those from long-term illnesses caused in the workplace puts the true figure of annual deaths in the UK between 20,000 and 50,000.
He also called on greater funding for regulators to increase the number of employers reporting injuries and fatalities.
The figures also showed 258 (78%) of the 331 non-fatal injuries recorded in Coventry resulted in someone missing at least seven working days.
Meanwhile, 1,100 people have died at work across Great Britain over the last eight years, when comparable figures began – of them, one was in Coventry.
Shelly Asquith, health and safety lead at the TUC, said: "Now is not the time for complacency. Too many people are dying from avoidable workplace accidents and illnesses".
Ms Asquith also called on the Government to provide "proper investment in health and safety enforcement".
"The HSE has had more than half its budget cut in the last 10 years," she added.
An HSE spokesperson said: "Nobody should die at work. Every loss of life is a tragedy, and we are committed to making workplaces safer and securing justice as part of our mission to protect people and places.
"Many different authorities can investigate and prosecute using the Health and Safety at Work Act. The cases we lead are investigated robustly."