Industrial accidents: Safety urged after worker deaths rise in Wales

The Chevron plant in Pembroke
Image caption Four workers died in an explosion at the Chevron plant in Pembroke in June 2011

Employers are being urged to rethink workplace safety in the new year after statistics showed 18 workers in Wales lost their lives last year.

The number of deaths rose from 11 in 2010/11, and seven the year before.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said health and safety must be taken seriously and urged employers to "tackle the real dangers".

In 2011/12 there were 1,213 major injuries in Wales, up from 1,141 in 2010/11.

Another 4,723 workers in Wales suffered injuries which required at least three days off work last year, compared to 4,898 the previous year.

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

Last year five workers died in Pembrokeshire; four in Neath Port Talbot and two in Carmarthenshire and Flintshire, while there was one work death in Bridgend, Caerphilly, Newport, Powys and Swansea.

The HSE said Britain has the lowest rate of fatal injuries to workers among the five leading industrial nations in Europe.

But Rosi Edwards, HSE's regional director for Wales, urged employers to make the safety of workers their top priority of 2013.

She said: "Each year, instead of enjoying the occasion, families of workers in Wales who failed to come home from work safely spend Christmas and the new year thinking of absent loved ones.

"Hundreds of other workers who have had their lives changed forever by major injury will be experiencing difficulties of their own.

When put into that context, it was clear why health and safety in British workplaces needed to be taken seriously, Ms Edwards added.

"I urge employers to tackle the real dangers that workers face rather than focussing on the trivial or mire themselves in pointless paperwork.

"My new year wish is that we can reduce the number of deaths and major injury in 2012 and make the year ahead a happier one for families."

Around the UK, high risk injuries include construction, which had 49 deaths last year, agriculture with 33, manufacturing with 31 and recycling which had five.

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