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Why is construction the UK’s most dangerous industry?

  • 23 Jul 2015

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Fatal accidents in the workplace

Should the construction industry be investing more money into health and safety measures?

Research into government statistics from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) by personal injury specialists Sure Claim looked at the level of workplace fatal accidents.

  • Construction was the highest number of all the industrial sectors
  • 31.5% (42) of fatal injuries occurred within the construction sector between 2013 and 2014
  • Agriculture had the second highest fatalities, accounting for 20.3% (27)
  • Waste and recycling accounted for just 3% (4)

Common causes of construction accidents

  • Falling from a height, e.g. scaffolding
  • Faulty or defective machinery
  • Being hit by a falling object
  • Electrocution
  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Lifting processes
  • On-site fires
  • Collapsing structures

Reducing accidents

New data released in July 2015 indicates that construction companies could be investing more money into health and safety measures.

Construction, along with agriculture, was one of the industries with a below average number of companies with a dedicated health and safety measures budget according to the UK results from European Survey of the Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks 2014.

When asked what the major issues where for establishments addressing health and safety, the most popular response, (almost 30% of respondents) was complexity of legal obligations.

Jack Ferraro, Head of Sure Claims Work Accidents Department: Its not surprising that the construction industry has been highlighted as the most fatal place of work. There are many different types of work carried out on a construction site, meaning there are many more hazards that can cause injury to workers. This means it can be more difficult for construction companies to fulfil their legal duty of keeping employees safe by reducing potential risks. However, construction companies should look to invest more into their annual health and safety budget to keep their employees safe.

Of those fatally injured in the construction industry, 45% were killed by a fall, with the sector being responsible for almost half of all the UKs fatal falls (19 out of 39) between 2013 and 2014.

This is a significant difference when compared to other industries with a high number of fatal fall injuries – agriculture had six, admin and support had five and manufacturing accounted for four.

Jack continues: Although the amount of fatal injuries across all industries has decreased, the amount of overall fatalities due to a fall has worryingly remained steady. This highlights a clear area of concern for companies, particularly those in the construction industry, when it comes to health and safety.

Sure Claim recommendations to employers:

  • Keep up to date with risk assessments,
  • Take precautions where a risk of injury is identified
  • Ensure that all equipment is well maintained and in good, working condition
  • Make sure all employees are fully trained in the risks relating to their particular job including, where applicable, working from a height

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