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Latest HSE stats reveals ‘worrying’ construction industry fatality figures

Posted on Nov 30, 2018

The latest stats from the Health and Safety Executive have highlighted that the construction industry is the worst industry for fatal injuries. Out of 144 workers killed in the UK in 2017/18, 38 (26%) of them were working in construction.

The most common fatal accident was falling from height, with 35 out of 144 sector wide deaths being accountable to this. This number has increased, compared to 27 fatal injuries from this kind of accident in 2016/17.

Being struck by a moving vehicle was the second most common accident, accounting for 26 fatal injuries across all industries, which has seen a slight decline from 2016/17, where 30 fatal injuries were recorded.

Despite the new 2017/18 stats looking bad for the construction sector, especially with the rate of fatal injury in construction being around four times as high as the average rate across all industries – it’s actually considerably less than the rate in either Agriculture or Waste and Recycling when being compared to the annual average rates for 2013/14 per 100,000 workers, despite accounting for a greater number of cases than these sectors.

Furthermore, the stats revealed that the UK consistently has one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries across the EU.

Stuart Anderson at Construction Skills People (CSP), a national leading training provider for the construction sector, said: “Whilst it’s great news that the UK has one of the lowest fatal injury rates across the EU, we can’t ignore that the construction industry accounts for the highest number of fatal injuries.

“It’s particularly worrying that the most common cause of accidental death in the workplace is falling from height – accidents of that nature can often be avoided with the right training.

“To help reduce the risks associated with working at heights, we provide a range of training courses to minimise the risk that operatives and their managers face when undertaking this type of work.

“We’d encourage anyone who is unsure of how to safely work at height, or unsure of anything when working on site, to contact us to book some training.”

Earlier this year, the All Party Parliamentary Group for ‘Working at Height’ launched an investigation into the root causes of incidents in a bid to drive down the number of serious injuries and fatalities that occur annually.

Over 60 responses were received from industry organisations, including leading international infrastructure group Balfour Beatty.

The committee, which is Chaired by Scottish National Party member Alison Thewliss, are now awaiting a report outlining the findings, following which it will ‘seek to propose effective, sensible measures’ to reduce the toll and ‘send people safely home from work’.

Stuart Anderson said: “These latest HSE statistics reinforce, once again, the devastating and often avoidable consequences of such incidents which cannot be ignored, and we look forward to reading the findings of this initial investigation and to hearing what measures for prevention the APPG members are going to put forward.”

Established in 2008, CSP is the leading provider of vocational construction qualifications and training courses across the UK.