Did you know that an estimated 1.2 million people who worked in 2010/11 reported suffering from a work-related illnesses, of which 495 000 were new cases which started in the year. Of these:
- Over 12 000 deaths each year are estimated to have been caused by past exposure at work – primarily exposure to chemicals and dusts;
- 75% of the new work-related conditions in 2010/11 were either musculoskeletal disorders or stress, depression and anxiety;
- Other work-related illnesses include skin disease and respiratory disease – about 40 000 new skin disease cases per year are reported – the majority of these will be dermatitis cases caused or made worse by work.
- Hearing loss and vibration-related disorders are another concern – figures for 2010/11 estimated that 22,000 people were suffering from hearing problems which they believed were related to their work.
These are quite startling facts and show how much more work needs to be done by employers to address these key health issues. A key question all businesses should be asking themselves is whether risk assessments cover these following areas properly:
- Working with chemicals;
- Noise and vibration?
We find that when training groups across a wide range of industries these are areas that tend not to be covered properly in the risk assessments. This is usually because they are risks that are more difficult to understand and therefore are not properly recognised.
The trouble is failure to manage these properly results in costly problems that could have been easily addressed up front. Why not check your risk assessments before it becomes a costly problem for your business?