Employee health and safety improved markedly during 2008/09, according to new data from the Health and Safety Executive.
The data shows a significant reduction in the numbers of people killed, injured or suffering work related ill-health.
Workplace fatalities in the UK fell from 233 in 2007/08 to a record low of 180 in 2008/09, and there was a reduction of over 7,000 in the number of workplace injuries classified as serious or incurring more than three days absence from work.
Obviously, the recession has had an impact. So many people have been laid off this year, there are fewer people at risk.
But Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive, had this to
"It is really encouraging to see these improvements in the numbers of deaths, injuries and cases of ill health at work over the last year.
"The improvements shown in these statistics point to other factors than simply a reduction in activity levels in a recession. Although it undoubtedly has some impact."
28,692 workers reported workplace injuries in 2008/09 (94.8 per 100,000) compared with 29,389 in 2007/08 (96.5 per 100,000), which means major injuries at work have fallen nine years running.
Judith Hackett, however, cautions against complacency:
"History suggests that when we start moving back into economic growth the rate of workplace injuries tends to increase. Preventing history from repeating itself is a challenge facing everyone with a stake in health and safety in the workplace - regulators, employers and employees alike: we all need to be part of the solution.
"Protecting people from harm caused by work remains important irrespective of the economic climate. Having shown that Great Britain can achieve a performance that compares favourably with other industrialised nations as we entered the global recession, the challenge now is to maintain that improvement as we move towards recovery and increased activity in some economic sectors.
"In spite of the encouraging overall statistics today let's not forget that they tell us a story of individuals and families who have suffered. This underlines the real risks that people face in work every day. This is what the real health and safety agenda has always been about and it will continue to be so."