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New survey to understand workplace accidents.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (JOSH) Food and Drink Group, Food and Drink Federation and Dairy UK have joined forces to develop an annual health and safety benchmarking survey, to capture a better picture of work-related injuries and ill-health in the food and drink industry, in a bid to improve further the industry's track record.

JOSH Food and Drink Group committee member Jackie Wooldridge said: "The true picture of work-related injuries and ill-health across UK industry is hard to capture because reporting can be quite inaccurate. We only have very limited information on accidents in food and drink. We wanted to develop a reporting survey that gives us a fuller picture over the years, including a clearer view of ill-health--of which there are thousands of incidents costing millions of pounds annually.

"We're involving key organisations who are close to their members and passionate about protecting workers. We are also asking companies to answer the survey anonymously, so we hope the results will give a more honest reflection of how good health and safety really is in food and drink manufacturing."

Survey results for 2011 show that of two fatalities, one was a fall from height, with another a slip, trip, or fall on the same level. There were 1,730 lost-time accidents reported, with 137 of those major injuries. In the over three-day injury category, there were 313 slips, trips and falls--39 percent of the 808 total.

The accident frequency rate (AFR) showed that 62 percent of the total 68,650 workers in the food industry will suffer an over three-day accident during their working lifetime.

Food and Drink Federation economics executive James Marquette said: "Our members deem accurate health and safety benchmarking data as crucial to their business strategies in preventing accident, injury and ill-health and protecting workers.

"The partnership between FIN, IOSH and Dairy UK has enabled us to implement a survey designed by food and drink manufacturers that collects data at the micro company level. Not only does this method provide more accurate data that is suited to the needs of food and drink businesses, but it also puts in place a model that better connects the industry and representative bodies. We must now continue to build on our work and expand the survey each year to cover more sectors and include more partners"

Jackie, who was the driving force behind the project, added: "At the moment, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is not able to collect data on hours worked, which is the thing food and drink manufacture companies typically use to gauge their performance.

In the survey there was also a section questioning data that is typically underreported. It showed there were 27 fires and 181 reports of ill health, including occupational asthma, hearing loss, dermatitis, mental ill health, upper limb disorders and back injuries.

"At IOSH we are particularly concerned about the thousands of workers who suffer work-related ill-health--they are the silent statistic that we are hoping to get a better picture of with this survey," Jackie added.

Contact IOSH on tel 0116 257 3100 or visit
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Title Annotation:INFORMALIA
Publication:Food Trade Review
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 1, 2012
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