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    CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY FATAL INJURY STATISTICS 2010/11

    Number and rate of fatal injuries rise but total remains below 5 year average

    Official statistics published today show the number of workers who died at work in Britain during the last year (1 April 2010 – 31 March 2011).

    The provisional HSE data shows the number of worker deaths increased to 171 from an all time low of 147 the previous year. The rate of fatal injury is now 0.6 per 100,000 workers, up from 0.5 per 100,000 workers the previous year.

    Judith Hackitt, the HSE Chair, said

    “The increase in the number of deaths in the last year is disappointing, after an all time low last year. However, we must remember that we still have one of the lowest rates of fatal injury anywhere in Europe.

    We all have a role to play – employers, employees and regulators – and leadership is fundamental to maintaining and improving our performance even further. In a world of work which is constantly changing we must all continue to review what we do and how we do it and strive to become even more effective at managing risks which cost lives.”

    Construction sector accounts for almost 30% of deaths  

    Figures also show the rate of fatal injuries in several of the key industrial sectors.

    There were 50 fatal injuries to construction workers recorded. This represents a rate of 2.4 deaths per 100,000 workers and compares to an average of 61 deaths in the past five years and an increase from the 41 deaths (and rate of 1.9) recorded in 2009/10.

    Philip White, HSE’s Chief Construction Inspector, said

    “The construction industry continues to see more deaths than any other industrial sector. We must not lose sight of the fact that 50 construction workers failed to come home last year, and that will have devastated those they leave behind.

    The increase in fatalities is extremely disappointing. However, figures for a single year should not be viewed in isolation. Numbers and rates of fatal injuries in construction have seen an overall downward trend in the last five years.

    HSE will continue to work to reduce the number of fatal accidents, however, it is ultimately the responsibility of those who create health and safety risks to control them and prevent people being killed and injured.

    The majority of deaths continue to be on small construction sites. Big construction companies have shown steady improvements over the last decade, and we want to see smaller firms take a similar lead. This is not about money, it’s about mindset – planning jobs properly, thinking before you act and taking basic steps to protect yourself and your friends.”

    UCATT call on Government to halt HSE cuts 

    The rise in deaths has prompted construction union UCATT to call on the Government to urgently rethink its plans to cut the funding of HSE.

     George Guy, Acting General Secretary of UCATT, said:

    “These latest figures must serve as an urgent wake up call for the Government and their policy of cutting safety laws and legislation. This rise in deaths occurred before the Government’s cuts kicked in. By slashing the HSE’s budget and the organisation’s effectiveness the Government are in reality giving a green light to business to avoid taking safety laws seriously.”

     The Government’s constant attacks on safety laws are sickening. The simple fact is that in dangerous industries like construction, there aren’t too many regulations. There isn’t too high a level of enforcement. There simply isn’t enough. Every single day workers are facing unnecessary dangers as basic safety laws are ignored.”

    Comment

    Each death at work is an unnecessary personal tragedy for all those involved and a rise in the number and rate of deaths is also disturbing. The one crumb of comfort for the sector is that these figures follow a period (2009/10) in which the lowest ever number and rate of fatal injuries in construction was recorded.

    With the annual death toll at 50 a single event (four workmen died in one incident in January 2011) can have a disproportionate effect on the overall statistics. It is therefore important to focus on the longer term trend which for construction remains in a downward direction.

    It will be crucial to analyse where these incidents occured so that regulators and others can more effectively focus the preventive effort.  

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