THE workplace death toll in Herefordshire and Worcestershire is still too high, the Health & Safety Commission warns.

New figures released by the watchdog revealed just two fatalities between April 1999 and March this year.

But despite falling numbers of worker deaths across the country, health and safety procedures have been blasted for being too lax.

A total of 507 workers were seriously injured in Worcestershire during the period.

In Herefordshire, the toll fell to 144.

But with 850 Worcestershire employees reporting over-three-day injuries and 336 in Herefordshire during the 12-month stretch, more must be done, the HSC said.

HSC chairman Bill Callaghan said the commission would focus on meeting targets set in the Government's Revitalising Health and Safety strategy.

And he promised to consult Herefordshire's and Worcestershire's workers, local authorities, unions and employers in a bid to lower accident rates.

"Welcome though recent improvements have been, the toll of injury and ill-health is still too high," he said.

"I will be asking all our key stakeholders - employers, workers, the Government, employers' associations, unions and many others - what they can do to help.

Figures show a continuing downward trend over the past decade for both the numbers and rates of worker fatalities.

The major injury rate for both employees and the self-employed had also fallen.

"We have much work to do, new challenges to tackle, tough targets and goals to meet," Mr Callaghan said.

"The work we have done on revitalising and in developing the new occupational health strategy are excellent examples of what we can achieve if we work together towards common goals."