More than 1,000 fatalities may have been left out of statistics for workplace deaths in Britain announced last week by the Health and Safety Executive, it was claimed.
Car fleet-funding company, Alphabet, says the HSE’s official annual death toll of 228 for 2007-08 does not include road-users killed in crashes where someone was driving for work.
The HSE’s published estimate for fatalities caused by work-related road crashes in Britain is more than 1,000 deaths every year – more than five times the official figure published last week, which covers factories and other workplaces but not public roads.
Alphabet, part of the BMW Group, says there is no official estimate for the number of Britons who drive on business (full time or occasionally), but accepted figures range from 4.5 million to five million.
Director Mark Sinclair said: “Can the HSE justify leaving more than a thousand work-related deaths, in its own estimation, out of the official record?
“A busy boss who only sees the headline figure of 228 deaths a year is almost certain to assume it includes working drivers killed in crashes. If they do, any conclusions they draw about the level of risk to their own company’s drivers will be dangerously optimistic.
“Because of this under-reporting of workplace casualties over several years, many thousands of employers and drivers remain unaware of the real seriousness of occupational road risks.
“The HSE’s own official statistics are helping to undermine attempts by responsible organisations and businesses in the fleet industry to raise awareness of the need for careful management of road risks.”
Mr Sinclair called on the HSE to be completely open about the number of workplace deaths in future announcements. The fact that work-related road deaths are not included in the total of 228 is only mentioned in the last of seven footnotes to the HSE’s press release.
The press release does not mention the HSE’s estimate that work-related road crashes cause more than 1,000 deaths and 13,000 serious injuries per year.
“People will be shocked by the figures but the road safety benefits would be huge, especially for the tens of thousands of firms and millions of drivers who are being lulled into a false sense of security by the HSE’s very partial headline statistics,” he said.