Construction fatalities lowest on record

15 April 2008

Provisional figures for fatalities in the UK construction industry in 2005/2006 were the lowest on record at 59 deaths, down from 69 in the previous year.

Falling from height continues to be the main cause of fatal injuries, although this is also down, to 46 from 53, with falls over two metres down to 26 from an average of 46 per annum over the previous five years. The other most common causes of fatalities are being struck by a moving or falling object or vehicle, being trapped by a collapsing or overturning object or structure, and contact with electricity.

The balance between causes of major injuries, however, has changed during the last year, with injuries caused by slips, trips or falls (on the same level) totalling 981, exceeding falls from height, which numbered 917, in second place. Handling, lifting or carrying produced 577 major injuries and moving, flying and falling objects caused 572 major injuries.

The report of the UK Health and Safety Commission (HSC) into its own performance in helping to reduce accidents, Measuring Up. Performance Report 2006, notes that some 5,000 lives have been saved since the introduction of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act but more work needs to be done. Commented Bill Callaghan, HSC chairman, “We've come a long way since 1974, when 600 people were killed at work each year. Our most recent statistics show a record low of 212. However, the changing economy and the increasing number of migrant workers will be key challenges in the future.”

The current UK national health and safety statistics and reports can be downloaded from www.hse.gov.uk/statistics.

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