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Home / Blogs / Transportation and storage industries losing 2 million working days a year

Transportation and storage industries losing 2 million working days a year

Blogs | 12th Dec 2023

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released its annual health and safety at work summary of statistics for Great Britain for 2022/2023. These show how work-related illness and injury continue to impact the transportation and storage industry.

According to the report 2 million working days are lost each year to work related ill-health and injury in our industry. That is equivalent to around 1.4 working days lost per worker. Not only does this cost companies millions of pounds, but it means we are losing millions of days of skilled labour each year. This makes the industry’s skills shortages even more acute.  It also highlights that there is room for improvement when it comes to health and safety practices and training.

In total, 55,000 workers suffered from work-related ill health (new or long-standing). This is an increase on last year’s reported 49,000 and accounts for 3.3% of workers in the industry.

Moving vehicles cause fatalities

There were 15 fatal injuries in the transportation and storage sector in the latest report period. While this is a decrease from 16 in the previous report, any fatalities is still too many.

Worryingly, the fatal injury rate in transportation and storage is 0.91 per 100,000 workers and is around 2.2 times the overall rate across all industries. The leading cause in the transportation and storage industries was being struck by a moving vehicle (37%).

This shows that improvements to operator and driver training are still needed to improve safety in many operations and, ultimately, save lives.

What can be done?

Many accidents that result in fatalities could be avoided through quality training. Operators and drivers, as well as any pedestrians working in the vicinity of moving vehicles need to receive the relevant training. Managers and Supervisors in materials handling operations may benefit from training, such as this Forklift Manager eLearning course. Ensuring correct supervision is in place can play a significant role in reducing the number of accidents in the workplace.

Non-fatal injury rates are improving

There were around 29,000 workers who sustained a non-fatal injury at work in transportation and storage. Encouragingly this is a slight improvement on last year’s 31,000 figure.

However, this figure means that 1.9% of workers in transportation and storage sustained an injury at work. With 29% of these injuries resulting in absence from work of more than 7 days, that indicates they were significant.

The key cause of non-fatal injuries was slips, trips, and falls (33%). Then injuries from handling, lifting, or carrying (21%). These have been the leading causes in transportation and storage over the past four years. Yet all are very preventable with the right training.

What can be done?

Any injury can impact the worker and the employer. To reduce this impact, ensure your staff have the correct up to date training. We can also support in-house RTITB accredited partners with regular Workplace Transport Operations HealthChecks.

Training around manual handling should also be considered to tackle injuries sustained while lifting/carrying/moving.

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders

Across the whole British workforce, there are 0.5 million workers suffering from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder.

Within the transportation and storage industries, 36% of the 55,000 workers suffering from work-related ill health had musculoskeletal disorders. This equates to around 1.2% of workers in our sector.

What can be done?

Risk assessments and training around manual handling are essential to minimise the potential risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Especially for any worker who lifts, pushes, or pulls during their work. Learning and implementing simple techniques can help minimise risk.

Delivering relevant manual handling training specifically designed for transport, warehousing, and logistics operations can also have a greater impact. For convenience, this training is now available from RTITB as an eLearning option.

Mental ill-health in the workplace

Mental ill-health has been a growing concern within the workplace. Across the UK 0.9 million workers are suffering from work-related stress, depression, or anxiety (new or long-standing). Of these,17,000 are within the transportation and storage industry. While this figure has decreased from 20,000 in the last report, this accounts for a huge 30% of all ill health in this industry. This is 1.0% of the total workforce in transportation and storage.

What can be done?

Thankfully there has been increasing acknowledgement of the important role mental health plays in achieving global sustainable development goals and the severe impact mental ill-health can have on people being able to carry out their day-to-day roles. As an industry, we need to take mental health seriously. It has a significant impact on the individual, and as a result, on the company.

There are different ways employers can improve how they manage this issue. For example, employers could consider appointing mental health first aiders.

Mental health (and other health topics) can also be covered during Driver CPC Periodic Training. In road transport, LGV Assessors can also play a helpful role in monitoring and addressing mental health concerns.

You can make a difference

35.2 million working days have been lost due to work-related illness and injury across all industries, a slight decline from the previous year. However, this has come at an estimated cost of £20.7 billion, which is an increase on the last report. We must also remember that unreported incidents happen every day which are not included within these figures.

The total cost of all this to the transportation and storage industry is estimated at £1.0 billion, which accounts for 5% of the total cost of all work-related ill health and injury. So, in these unpredictable times it has never been more important to reduce the impact that ill-health and injury can have on our industry, and your company.

And you can make a difference. Protect your staff and your company by speaking to our friendly team about how to improve safety, standards, and compliance in your road transport or materials handling operation.