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    CONSTRUCTION DEATHS LOWEST ON RECORD

    Latest injury statistics show construction fatalities at all time low

    The latest construction sector fatal injury statistics have been published revealing that the number and rate of fatal injuries have fallen to the lowest levels on record.

    There were 53 construction sector fatalities in 2008/09 with a rate of 2.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. This rate is significantly below the construction sector average of the previous five years (3.4).

    HSE now believe there is an overall downward trend in the rate of fatal injury to construction workers but caution that ‘chance’ may have fallen in a highly favourable way after two years when figures were in the upper range of what might be expected.

    Judith Hackitt, HSE Chair, added: “Statistics on fatal injuries do not give us the whole picture. Work-related ill health is a significant problem and accounts for four times more working days lost than workplace injury, so there is still a major challenge .”

    HSE Construction Chief Inspector Phillip White said: “We very much welcome any reduction in the number of construction workers being fatally injured. But the fact that 53 construction workers failed to come home from their jobs last year because of avoidable safety failings is a terrible tragedy, not a cause for celebration.”

    Comment: This is welcome news for construction workers and encouraging for those clients, designers, coordinators and contractors working hard to avoid and manage risk in one of the most hazardous sectors of the economy.

    The recession may be reflected in the data by reducing the number of new workers. There is evidence to suggest that a disproportionate number of deaths occur during the first few days on site. HSE warn that “in the past the number and the rate of fatal injuries increase when trading conditions pick up.”

    The challenge for HSE is to develop more effective strategies for reaching the smaller refurbishment sites and contractors. For CDM dutyholders involved with larger projects the challenges include: sustaining existing H&S programmes; developing more effective approaches; avoiding complacency and increasing understanding and action on health issues.

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