The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has missed more than half of its own targets, according to an internal audit that revealed that 243 HSE staff had had accidents while working at the Bootle, Merseyside, headquarters.

The audit found that the HSE failed to achieve seven out of its 11 targets for workplace safety. Among the areas that the executive let itself down were providing adequate training for employees on long-haul road trips, acting on risk reports inside 30 days, and assessing staff who regularly do computer work.

The number of accidents and injuries in the HSE’s offices is said to have risen by 16 per cent in one year, with 29 members of staff having problems due to looking at PC monitors, 22 taking time off due to stress, 13 having slips or trips, and five having accidents. The average annual sick leave for 2010/11 was 6.8 days and a total of 24,000 hours were lost through poor health.

The HSE told the Daily Telegraph: “The HSE consistently has a very low level of reportable incidents, which already puts it in the very best class of performers when compared with similar organisations. Despite being a high performer, we seek continuous improvement across all fronts, irrespective of performance at one point in time against any annual target.’

However, Sally Thompson of the Adam Smith Institute was quoted as saying: ‘We need a good dose of common sense in this area if HSE can’t comply with the rules then entrepreneurs and small businesses have no chance.’