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    CONSTRUCTION INJURY AND ILL-HEATH STATISTICS 2010/11

    HSE statistics show injuries falling whilst ‘cancer registrations’ are high

    The latest statistics for injury and ill-health in construction are now available showing significant reductions in the number and rate of injury in the construction sector over the last 20 years or more.

    Nevertheless, construction remains a high risk industry. Although it accounts for only about 5% of the employees in Britain it still accounts for 27% of fatal injuries to employees and 9% of reported major injuries.

    Safety headlines 2010/11
    • 50 fatal injuries to workers compared with an average of 61 over the previous five years;
    • number of employees fatally injured has reduced by two-thirds compared with 20 years ago; and
    • reported non-fatal injuries have fallen by over a third and rates have fallen by a quarter since 2007/08.
    Health headlines 2010/11
    • over 5000 occupational cancer cases are estimated to arise each year as a result of past exposures in the construction sector;
    • an estimated 36000 new cases of work-related ill health with rates of musculoskeletal disorder significantly higher than average; and
    • about 2.3 million working days were lost (1.1 days per worker) due to self-reported work-related illness or workplace injury. Just over three quarters of this was due to health problems and only one quarter to injuries.
    Occupational cancer

    Construction is an industry with high cancer registrations accounting for 56% of occupational cancer registrations in men. About half (almost 4,000 per year) of occupational cancer deaths are attributable to exposure to carcinogens (e.g. substance or occupational circumstance) in the construction industry. Painters and decorators are at high risk, possibly due to solvent exposure.

    The most significant carcinogen is still past exposure to asbestos (71%) followed by silica (16%) and diesel engine exhaust/ environmental tobacco smoke (6-7% each). Solar radiation, coal tars and pitches are responsible for about 1300 cancer registrations, mostly causing non-melanoma skin cancers.

    Fatal injuries

    Number and rate of fatal injuries to workers 2004/05 to 2010/11p

    • There were 50 fatal injuries to workers in Construction in 2010/11p, 18 of these fatalities were to the self-employed. This compares with an average of 61 over the previous 5 years – including an average of 19 to the self-employed.
    • The rate of fatal injury per 100 000 construction workers was 2.3 in 2010/11p compared with a 5 year average of 2.5.
    • In 2010/11p, 29% of all fatal injuries to workers were in Construction and it accounts for the greatest number of fatal injuries of the industry sections.
    • The general trend in the number and rate of fatal injury from 2004/05 to 2010/11p is downwards, but it has been fairly static over the past 3 years.

    The fatal injury rates quoted above are slightly lower than those provided in June because a different source for employment estimates (Annual Population Survey) has been used. This gives a higher estimate (8% for employees and 4% for all workers in 2010/11p) for construction employment. 

    The number of fatalities is the same as when calculated using the SIC2003 definition of construction, but the rate is slightly lower as construction, under SIC2007, includes development and selling of real estate

    Major injuries

    Number and rate of major injuries to employees, 2004/05 to 2010/11p

    • There were 2298 reported major injuries to employees in 2010/11p, compared to an average of 3423 over the previous five years. The corresponding rates of major injury per 100 000 employees were 173.2 in 2010/11p and an average of 217.6.
    • There has been a general reduction in the rate of reported major injury since 2004/05. The number of reported injuries has also fallen (25% for rates and 38% for numbers) since 2007/08.
    Over three day injuries

    Number and rate of over-3-day injuries to employees, 2004/05 to 2010/11p

    • There were 4784 reported over-3-day injuries to employees in 2010/11p, compared to an average of 6 990 over the previous five years. The corresponding rates of over three day injury per 100 000 employees were 360.5 in 2010/11p and an average of 444.5.
    • As with major injuries there has been a general reduction in the rate of reported over three day injuries since 2004/05. The number of reported injuries has also fallen (22% for rates and 36% for numbers) since 2007/08.

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