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FATAL INJURY REPORTS

US system for disclosing fatal injury invesigation reports 

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the US federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH publish the full text of hundreds of fatality investigation reports as part of their Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. A report has just been publised concerning a death caused by an excavation collapse.

Comment: These reports are written in an American style and the content is not always relevant in a UK context. For example, the US is concerned about the frequency of deaths involving Hispanic workers as in the case above. However, the detail can provide insights into underlying causes and prevention in the UK construction sector. The mechanics of an excavation collapse is the same in both countries and the management or behavioual issues will be similar. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigate some 70 construction sector deaths each year and hundreds of others involving very serious injury yet there is no equivilent system of reporting to the industry. In both countries there are litigation issues and NIOSH overcome this problem by a suitable delay between the death and publication. We need a similar system in the UK to assist those managing construction health and safety.    

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