November 3, 2014 |

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released its Annual Report for Great Britain yesterday but urged against complacency within the construction industry.


The report showed that 1.2 million people who had worked during the last year were suffering from illness ”“ both new and long-standing ”“ that they believed was caused or made worse by their current or last work.


During this time, 133 workers were killed at work (a rate of 0.44 fatalities per 100,000 workers).


The report shows that while for injuries, construction is among the sectors with a statistically higher rate, in terms of illness, construction is just slightly under the average rate of illness reported by all industries.


Research shows that occupational cancer is more common within the construction industry than any other. More than 40% of the occupational cancer deaths and registrations were from construction, with most caused by past exposures to asbestos and silica.


The figures show that there were 42 fatal injuries to workers in 2013/14, compared with an average of 46 over the previous five years. In addition, the rate of fatal injury per 100,000 construction workers has decreased in comparison to the national average.


Despite this though, 32% of all fatal injuries to workers were in construction ”“ the greatest number of such injuries of all industry sections (with the biggest proportion being the result of a fall from height).


The number of major injuries reported within the construction sector has also decreased. This year there were 1900 major injuries reported, which is more than 500 down from the average.


Philip White, HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction, urges against complacency:


“Another decrease in the rate of injuries in construction is clearly welcome but I would urge the industry to avoid any feeling that it is ”˜job done’.”


“Construction remains one of Britain’s most dangerous sectors and initial analysis of the level of enforcement action in HSE’s recent refurbishment campaign confirms that there are still far too many poorly managed risks on sites around the country.”


“Disappointingly, most of these risks are well known and have straightforward precautions.”


“We will continue to work with the industry to develop sensible standards and promote risk awareness and control, while holding to account those that harm their workers and the public.”