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    INQUIRY INTO CONSTRUCTION FATALITIES

    HSE to investigate recent deaths in construction

    The Government has asked HSE to carry out a broad investigation into recent deaths in the construction industry and partcularly those involving vulnerable workers. In announcing the review (see paras 5 ands 6) the Chief Executive has stated that HSE is already undertaking work looking at vulnerable workers but nevertheless sees this new demand from Government as an opportunity to gather valuable intelligence and help shape future strategy.

    HSE proposes to engage independent external researchers to examine the underlying causes of fatal accidents in construction, including vulnerability, and identify levers for change both within and beyond the health and safety system. The research will be phased in order to deliver early information.

    Comment: A broad ranging examination of the pattern of fatalities in construction, the underlying causes and strategies for a reduction in deaths is to welcomed. However, we should remember that it is only two years since HSE was reporting a record low number and frequency of construction fatal injuries. Meanwhile, a good starting point would be for HSE to publish improved summaries of fatal injuries as soon as they occur followed by more detailed information when any litigation issues have been concluded. In this way a wider population of researchers would have access to the data for analysis and judgement and the industry may learn some immediate lessons from the data. 

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