HSE stats show respiratory diseases are still a significant concern

Posted: Wednesday 18th November 2009

New statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show there has been a significant reduction in the number of people killed, injured or suffering work related illness from April 2008 to March 2009. The figures, published in the HSE’s Health and Safety Statistics 2008/091, show that across England, Scotland and Wales, the number of people estimated to be suffering from work-related ill health fell by 79,000 in 2008/09 to 1.2 million and as a result three million fewer working days were lost to ill health in 2008/09 - a total of 24.6 million.

However over the past year 2156 people died of mesothelioma and thousands more of other occupational cancers and lung diseases2. David Hall, Chairman for the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) comments: “Each year thousands of people die from work-related diseases and although this is often due to exposure to dangerous substances in the past, many workers are still potentially at risk of respiratory disease. In addition further research indicates that an estimated 50% of all employees requiring respiratory protection does not achieve the correct level of protection.”

As the safety industry’s leading trade body, one of the core aims of the BSIF is to help improve safety and health in the work place. In cooperation with the HSE, ARCA and other industry stakeholders, the BSIF has developed a competency scheme – the Fit2Fit Fit Test Providers Accreditation Scheme, with the aim of significantly reducing the incidence of occupational respiratory injury by substantially increasing the correct fitting of RPE. This scheme is designed to confirm the competency of any person performing facepiece fit testing by passing an industry recognised exam, demonstrating that they have a thorough knowledge of the HSE guidance on fit testing and that they know how to fit test in practical circumstances.

David continues: “By creating a nationally recognised accreditation scheme with ‘professional’ standing, employers who select appropriate, accredited Fit2Fit personnel to fit test their employees with respiratory protection will mitigate liability in the event of an incident. Most importantly, of course, it will play a part in reducing respiratory disease in the workplace.”

Key points of 2008/9 statistics:




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