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West Yorkshire: Fire crew accidents lowest in 15 years

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Accidents recorded by firefighters at work are at their lowest level in 15 years, a new report reveals.

Figures from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service show the number of injuries sustained by its workforce and at its sites has reduced by nearly a quarter in one year.

The brigade recorded a total of 173 accidents from fire crews and staff at sites across the county between April 2012 and March 2013 - a fall of 24 per cent from the previous year.

Slips and trips and exposure to hazardous substances were some of the main causes of injuries recorded by firefighters at work.

Fire chiefs welcomed the reduction but said they could not fully explain the reduction in the number of accidents despite a reduction in the workforce and number of incidents attended.

A report to West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “It is recognised that both the workforce and the number of incidents attended has reduced, and that these reductions are likely to have a proportionate effect on reducing the number of accidents.

“However, even when factoring this in, they do not fully explain the reduction in accidents.”

Nearly eight per cent of accidents involved non-employees which includes contractors, Young Firefighters and visitors to open days and galas.

A report, which will be discussed by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority’s human resources committee on Friday, said: “Overall, this has been a good year in terms of accidents at work. This is the lowest number of accidents reported in over 15 years, which is extremely encouraging and links to Service Supports aims of “providing a healthy and safe workforce” by reducing illness, injury and discomfort to WYFRS staff.”

Figures show there were 305 total accidents recorded by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2005 and 2006.

The report to the committee added: “Accidents have a clear cost to the Authority and the improvements in safety, leading to a reduction in accidents and lost time have a positive effect in reducing this cost; whether this is accident investigation costs, backfilling staff or compensation claims. With a reducing workforce it becomes even more important that our staff remain at work to allow WYFRS to improve efficiency.”

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