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Workplace deaths on the rise in Lancashire

John Freeman
Eight people lost their lives while at work in Lancashire last year and 661 suffered a major injury, according to the latest statistics - including two in the Lancaster and Morecambe area.

The Health and Safety Executive - Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health - has issued a fresh warning about workplace safety after the number of deaths rose across Great Britain in 2010/11.

The Executive is again urging employers to make the safety of workers their top priority for 2012, and is reminding them of their legal responsibility to ensure lives are not put at risk.

A total of 171 people were killed at work in Great Britain last year, compared to 147 deaths during 2009/10. More than 24,700 workers also suffered a major injury in 2010/11.

Locally, in April 2010, construction worker James Sim died after he became trapped when a trench he was working on collapsed in Morecambe.

In July, 26-year old Chris Cowan, a former soldier who worked at Heysham Power Station, was killed when he fell 30 feet from a balcony.

Across the county, the eight deaths and 661 major injuries in Lancashire compare to three deaths and 716 major injuries in 2009/10. Another 2,404 workers suffered an injury or ill health which required them to take at least three days off work in 2010/11, compared to 2,471 in 2009/10.

The latest provisional figures show that, on average, six in every million workers were killed while at work between April 2010 and March 2011.

High-risk industries include construction which had 50 deaths last year, agriculture with 34 deaths, and waste and recycling with nine deaths, making up more than half of all workplace deaths in Great Britain during 2010/11.

Speaking after the death of her partner Chris Cowan, Lucy McCarthy told the Lancashire Evening Post: “You never imagine something like this will happen to you."

“The families of the eight workers in Lancashire who lost their lives last year had to face Christmas without them," notes David Sowerby, HSE's Regional Director for the North West. "Hundreds of other workers have had their lives changed forever by a major injury.

“These statistics highlight why we need good health and safety in British workplaces. Employers should spend their time tackling the real dangers that workers face rather than worrying about trivial risks or pointless paperwork.

“It’s important to remember that we still have one of the lowest rates of workplace deaths in Europe, but one death is still one too many. I’d urge businesses to help cut the number of deaths in 2012.”

• Information on tackling health and safety dangers in workplaces is available on HSE’s website at

• The following table lists the numbers of deaths and injuries across Lancashire during 2010/11 and 2009/10. Three-day injuries are injuries where workers had to take three or more days off work to recover.

Local Authority Area 2010/11 2009/10 Deaths Major injuries '3-day' injuries Deaths Major injuries '3-day' injuries
Blackburn 1 67 275 1 68 261 Blackpool - 56 251 - 64 214 Burnley - 35 152 - 55 164 Chorley - 52 177 - 41 177 Fylde - 34 88 - 41 102 Hyndburn - 35 124 - 33 116 Lancaster 2 67 218 1 69 255 Pendle - 38 137 - 34 131 Preston 1 83 304 - 98 346 Ribble Valley - 31 99 - 24 101 Rossendale - 21 92 - 29 72 South Ribble 1 43 179 - 59 190 West Lancashire 1 62 200 1 67 221 Wyre 2 37 108 - 34 121 Total 8 661 2,404 3 716 2,471
  • A list of the deaths reported to HSE during 2010/11 is available at The information is updated on a monthly basis, and does not purport to be a formal statistical release. Subsequent investigation may determine that some are not reportable as workplace deaths, for example deaths due to natural causes.
  • Further information on workplace statistics can be found at
  • Based on available data (2007), Britain has the lowest rate of fatal injuries to workers among the five leading industrial nations in Europe - Great Britain, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
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