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Government Support For Campaign

18 March 2010

The Welsh Assembly Government is supporting a campaign by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to reduce slips, trips and falls in the workplace, and has held up a flagship road scheme in Pembrokeshire as an example of good practice.

During 2008-09, slip, trip and fall incidents in the workplace resulted in 2,520 workers in Wales suffering major injuries or injuries requiring more than three days off work, and construction work carries some of the greatest risks. The "Shattered Lives" campaign involves raising awareness of the impact of slips, trips and falls in the workplace and direct people to the new Shattered Lives website (www.hse.gov.uk/shatteredlives) for practical advice and guidance.

Work is well underway on the A40 Penblewin to Slebech Park improvement, and the principal contractor, Costain Ltd, has worked with the Assembly Government to ensure that the site is kept in good order and staff have all the right equipment to work safely at height.

Project Manager for Costain Ltd, Mark Young, said:

"The new road will include a number of safety measures for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, so it makes perfect sense that we maintain high safety standards during the construction phase too.

"Building sites can be very dangerous places. Slip and trip hazards include trailing cables, general building debris on the ground and dusty, uneven floors. Working at height presents its own hazards too, and using the right equipment could be the difference between life and death.

"On a scheme of this scale it is essential to ensure that the risks are identified and managed, which is why we provide rigorous training for all staff and contractors."

Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones, said:

"I am delighted to be able to support HSE's campaign which reinforces the pledge made by the Welsh Assembly Government last year to support the HSE in promoting good health and safety amongst businesses.

"The A40 improvement is one of our flagship schemes, and there is a clear expectation on companies fulfilling these contracts to be leaders in providing the safety working environment possible, as Costain have done.

"The human cost of slips, trips and falls can be significant. In Wales, there is also a cost to business and the economy in terms of lost working days and putting things right when incidents do occur. It is far better for companies to invest in safety measures beforehand, than have to deal with the aftermath of a serious incident."

Terry Rose, Director for HSE Wales, added:

"These figures highlight the very real and serious nature of preventable slip, trip and fall incidents in the workplace.  Slips, trips and falls might sound funny but they shatter the lives of thousands of British workers ever year."

In Wales during 2008-09, there were more than 880 major injuries to workers, as well as 1,640 workers having to take over three days off work. In Pembrokeshire, there were 56 major injuries and 53 injuries requiring more than three days off work reported in the same period.

As well as the tragic human cost, preventable slips, trips and falls are having a serious financial impact. HSE estimates that the combined financial costs incurred by society as a whole is around £800million a year, at a time when both businesses and individuals are struggling financially during the current recession.