Workplace Safety Tragedies

In this week’s blog, we are highlighting some of the worst safety disasters in UK workplaces as well as injuries or deaths that could have been prevented with the correct care. It isn’t just lone workers who are at risk when doing their jobs – workplace safety affects each and every employee in the UK and there is a good reason we have so much legislation surrounding safety.

When Workplace Safety Goes Wrong

In 2017/18, 144 people were killed whilst carrying out their jobs. Whilst the UK does compare favourably to the rest of the UK in terms of workplace death and disasters, it doesn’t mean we are immune from such incidents.

Workplace safety is the reason we have quite a good safety record in the UK and why it is so important that employers and employees alike are constantly educated, and legislation is updated.

Here are some instances of workplace safety gone wrong from around the world.

Senghenydd colliery disaster

Although the 1913 mining accident was deemed an accident. It is thought that many of the 439 victims could have survived if the right safety procedures had been put in place. The explosion is still the worst mining accident to have happened in the UK.

image shows a picture of a mine

Halifax Explosion

The Halifax Explosion was a maritime disaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, which happened in 1917. Two ships collided, one of which was carrying explosives; the resulting blast devastated the Halifax district of Richmond, killing approximately 2,000 people. although it was navigational errors which caused the disaster, nobody was ever criminally charged.

Bhopal Disaster

The Bhopal gas leak is still considered to be the worst industrial disaster in history – over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate gas. A court ruled that 3,787 deaths were related to the gas release and tens of thousands were left with permanent injuries. The disaster happened in 1984 but it wasn’t until 2010 that seven former employees of the facility, including the former chairman, were convicted of causing death by negligence and sentenced to two years imprisonment.

Employee Tragedy

The above examples show the effect that neglecting workplace safety can have on a big scale. But what about the smaller numbers or individuals who are killed whilst at work?

Whilst they don’t hit the headlines as much as big disasters, many employees are killed around the world in accidents at work, that could have been prevented.

Just last week, A refuse collection company was fined £1m after a worker was run over and killed at work. John Head, 60, was killed back in 2013 after being hit by a refuse truck It was found that the employer had no system in place for employees to move safely around the site and that vehicles and employees manoeuvred around the site in a ‘free for all’.

image shows a farm which an environment where workplace safety is very important

And last year, the owner of a farm was found guilty of the death of an employee after Lauren Scott, 20, was killed when her hair became caught in a 1940’s milling machine. The machine didn’t have an appropriate cover on it, which would have cost just £75. Investigating officer Det Insp Steve Davies said after the case that the farmer showed a “complete disregard” for safety regulations.


Get in Touch

If you are worried about workplace safety, especially the safety of those who work alone, then please get in touch.

First2HelpYou are one of the UK’s premier providers of lone worker safety devices.