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Employers reminded of importance of worker safety

Employers are being urged to focus on real risk after 20 workers lost their lives while at work in Scotland last year - an increase of six on the previous year.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has asked business to rethink workplace safety provisions in the New Year after the number of deaths in Great Britain as a whole failed to show a significant fall in 2011/12.

A total of 173 workers were killed at work in Great Britain last year, compared to 175 worker deaths during 2010/11. More than 23,000 workers also suffered a major injury.

The 20 deaths and 2,240 major injuries in Scotland last year compare to 14 deaths and 2,660 major injuries in 2010/11. Another 7,447 Scotland workers suffered injuries which required at least three days off work in 2011/12, compared to 7,667 in 2010/11.

High-risk industries include construction, which had 49 deaths last year, agriculture with 33 deaths, manufacturing with 31 deaths and waste and recycling with five deaths - making up more than half of all workplace deaths in Great Britain during 2011/12.

Urging employers to make the safety of workers their top priority for 2013, David Snowball, HSE Director for Scotland & Northern England, said:

"Health and safety in the workplace needs to be taken seriously. I hope that in 2013 employers will tackle the real rather than the trivial dangers that workers face and not mire themselves in pointless paperwork so we can reduce the number of workplace deaths and major injury."

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