Construction industry deaths on the rise
The number of deaths in the construction industry was higher than any other sector in the last financial year, new figures reveal.
The Health & Safety Executive have released statistics which show that 40 people died in the construction industry in 2019/20, up from 30 the previous year.
Whilst care is needed in looking at a single year’s figures, a rise in construction industry deaths of a third is a shocking statistic, and a cause of real concern. This is particularly so when overall work-related fatal accidents have fallen to their lowest ever figure of 111 during the year. Construction remains the industrial sector which had the most deaths in the period
“I really hope that these shocking figures of deaths from accidents in the construction industry are a one off and do not represent the start of a new and upward trend. Every workplace death is a tragedy, forever changing the lives of those left behind, whether families, work colleagues or the wider community. To see an increase of a third in a single year should be a wake up call. Now is the time for everyone with a health and safety role in the construction industry to re-double their efforts to ensure the year on year reductions in deaths that we had seen until 2019/20 continue, until we get to the point where everyone who goes to work comes home safely”
The Health & Safety Executive confirmed that of the deaths, 14 came from falls from height, and 11 were from being trapped by something collapsing. Philip Edwards went on to say:
“Working at height carries with it an obvious risk, but with the systems and technologies available, these accidents should be a thing of the past. Responsible employers will make sure their staff have good quality, well tested and maintained equipment. However, for the small minority of companies that do not behave responsibly, the consequences for their employees could not be more grave”.
The Health & Safety Executive itself has called for greater funding for its regulatory work, and as an organisation they can provide advice and undertake inspections of workplaces. This vital work can prevent future tragedies, after COVID-19 there will inevitably be pressures on the UK economy, but funding the Health & Safety Executive properly may be more needed than ever.
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