EIGHT people have died in industrial or workplace related accidents across East Lancashire over the last five years, latest statistics show.

The data, released by the Health and Safety Executive, shows that more people died in accidents at work or on farms over the last year than any other since 2015, with three of the eight recorded tragedies taking place in 2019/20.

All eight of the accidents involved men or boys, with four of the deaths occurring in locations in Pendle, two in Burnley and two in Blackburn with Darwen. A further death was reported to have taken place in Chorley during 2015/16.

Chief executive, Sarah Albon, said: “No one should be hurt or killed by the work they do. In these extraordinary times, we have seen many workers risking their lives to help others during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Although these statistics are not a reflection on Covid-19 related loss of life, it is a pertinent time to reflect.

“Every workplace fatality is a tragedy and while we are encouraged by this improvement, today’s statistics is a reminder that we cannot become complacent as we look to continue to work together to make Great Britain an even safer place to live and work.”

The workplace tragedies in East Lancashire include the death of ‘gentle giant’ Colin Willoughby, who died after becoming stuck under a machine while working at Graham Engineering Ltd in Nelson, Pendle, in 2018.

Graham Engineering Ltd and director Stuart Fraser this year appeared in court and denied charges brought against them by the in relation to the tragedy and will stand trial in November.

Another tragic incident involved a boy, aged four, being ran-over by a tractor on his family farm in Burnley in 2019.

An investigation was launched by the HSE last June after a man died while working at lighting company MK Illumination in Blackburn.

The third workplace death to occur in East Lancashire throughout 2019/20 was in December last year, when a man in his 20s died following in an incident at Doric FDP in Burnley. A joint investigation between the police and HSE is also being conducted in relation to this incident. Despite the HSE confirming that in 2019/20, the fewest number of workplace deaths were recorded across the country with 111 workers fatally injured, the number in East Lancashire was the highest it has been since 2015.