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Workshop fatalities on the rise

The number of fatal accidents in the vehicle repair trade rose from five in 2002/03 to eight in 2003/04 – and a further six people were killed in the industry within the first four months of the current year, according to The Health and Safety Executive.

Three out of the eight deaths were caused by workers being struck by cars without their handbrakes on, three were crushed under vehicles, one mechanic was struck by another car when working at the roadside, and one died after mishandling petrol.

What is particularly worrying the HSE is that all of these deaths were avoidable had proper precautions been taken.

This trend does not appear to be changing, as the six fatalities registered this year also could have been avoided. Three were caused by the ignition of petrol vapours, two involved falls from heights, and the other was a worker who was crushed under a vehicle.

John Powell, from HSE’s Manufacturing sector and chair of the MVR Health and Safety forum comments: “Everyone must work harder to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place to prevent further tragedies.”

Chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry Federation Matthew Carrington says help and advice are vital to protect staff in any working environment.

“It is when guidelines are not followed that accidents occur,” he says. “The RMI works closely with all members, giving advice and guidance on a regular basis on all HSE issues and guidelines.”

Information on improving workshop safety is available on the HSE’s website which can be accessed at www.hse.gov.uk/mvr.

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