§ 12. Mr. Prescott
asked the Paymaster General how many fatal accidents and serious injuries were reported by the Health and Safety Executive for the last year for which figures are available; and what were the comparable figures for the year ended 1978.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
In 1984, 432 fatal injuries to employees were reported; 499 were reported in 1978 under the legislation then in force, which did not cover all sectors of employment. In 1984, 12,246 major injuries to employees were reported. Comparable figures for 1978 are not available. I should point out that the 1984 figures are provisional.
§ Mr. Prescott
Does the Paymaster General accept that the great improvement in safety in industry is due largely to the inspectors in the health and safety operations since the Health and Safety Executive was set up? In those industries not covered by the Health and Safety Executive accidents and injuries have increased. Does the Paymaster General accept, therefore, that a reduction of 200 in the number of safety inspectors as a result of cuts in the Civil Service can only lead to an increase in accidents and deaths in industry?
§ Mr. Clarke
Our better record is a result of ever-improving consciousness of the need to achieve good practice by employers and employees and of the good work of the inspectors of the Health and Safety Executive? The number of inspectors is down at the moment because of wastage and a large number of retirements. Recruitment of inspectors is taking place in all relevant areas.