More than 200 injuries at work reported in Bedford
HSE says employers substantially under-report specified injuries
More than 200 injuries at work were reported in Bedford last year, figures show.
The Trades Union Congress says a drop in reports nationally is the result of funding cuts and lack of awareness of the duty to report injuries.
In 2019-20, the Health and Safety Executive was notified of 204 non-fatal incidents in the area – 18 fewer than in the previous year. There were no fatal injuries.
Of the injuries, which workplaces must report by law, 59 were specified – these include incidents such as serious burns, amputations, loss of sight and fractures other than to fingers and toes.
A further 145 resulted in an employee or self-employed person being unable to perform their normal duties for more than seven consecutive days.
The figures mean 293 Bedford workers per 100,000 were injured at work last year, higher than the East of England's average rate of 242.
But the HSE said that its preferred method for measuring injuries in the workplace was through a household survey, which estimates that in 2019-20 around 693,000 workers in Great Britain sustained a non-fatal injury.
The organisation also said employers substantially under-report specified injuries, with current levels estimated at around a half.
Shelly Asquith, TUC's health and safety policy officer, said: "The HSE themselves accept there is a big problem with under-reporting.
“A lack of visibility of the HSE – due to funding cuts and a decline in the level of enforcement measures being carried out – means fewer employers are aware of the body.
“The Government is also to blame for failing to alert employers of the duty to report instances of injury, illness and death.”
She added that lack of reporting was an issue for work-related exposure to Covid-19, with the risk of these incidents going unaccounted for.
Sarah Newton, chairman of the HSE, said: "HSE remains committed to taking action where workers are not protected, to ensure the guidance and assistance we provide for employers in managing risks is the best available, based on the latest evidence and science.
“Although Great Britain continues to be up there with the safest places in the world to work, these figures highlight the scale of the challenge HSE currently faces in making Britain an even healthier and safer place to work, this includes our role in the response to the pandemic to ensure workplaces are Covid secure.”