WIGANERS are safer at work now compared to 40 years ago - but there are STILL fatalities.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed that, nationally, the number of people who lose their lives at work has dropped sharply by 85 per cent over the past 40 years, from over 650 every year in 1974 to a record low of 133 today.
In Wigan, there was one fatality in 2011/12 - Christopher James Morris, 40, of Scholes, who suffered fatal chest injuries having been pinned face down under a forklift truck in Kirkless Industrial Estate on Cale Lane.
There were none in 2012/13, but the folllowing year, 50-year-old driver Darren Morley was killed after he became trapped in the doors of his bus.
An inquest ruled accidental death.
This will be included in the 2013/14 statistics, which will be released in December.
But there has been a major drop in major injuries sustained, with 83 in 2011/12, down to 65 in 2012/13.
The HSE is still investigating an incident at the Hovis site in Cale Lane, where a 23-year-old engineer was working on a hydraulic compactor when some parts of the machinery fell on him and pinned him to the floor.
Nationally, the number of injuries at work has also reduced considerably by 77 per cent over the same time period, from 336,701 to 78,222.
Mark Harper, Minister of State for Health and Safety, said: “Britain has come an incredibly long way over the past 40 years in protecting its workforce. Our workplace safety record is now the envy of the world, with businesses and governments queuing up to tap into our expertise.
“Any death at work is a death too many. But few can dispute that the reduction in fatalities and injuries over the past 40 years is a significant step forward. Britain is now officially one of the safest places in Europe – and the world – to work.
“So, while we all rightly curse false health and safety excuses, it’s worth thinking how fortunate we are today that we can go out to do a hard day’s work safe in the knowledge that our safety is being taken seriously.”
Judith Hackitt, Chair of the HSE, said: “Our health and safety law places responsibility on those who create risk to manage that in a proportionate practical way.
“It sets standards in terms of outcomes to be achieved.
“This means that it is universally applicable – regardless of whether you’re farming, fracking for shale gas or working with nano-materials in an ultra high-tech laboratory.
“The Heath and Safety at Work Act may be 40 years old but it - and our regulatory system - are world class.”