U.K. Experiences Rise in Construction Deaths

June 30, 2011
On June 28, Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released new figures indicating that construction worker deaths in the U.K. this year increased nearly 22 percent compared to last year.

The provisional figures show that from April 2010 through March 2011, 50 construction workers died in the U.K. During the same time period the previous year, 41 were fatally injured.

“The construction industry continues to see more deaths than any other industrial sector,” said Philip White, HSE chief construction inspector. “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.”

White added, however, that this new data must be put into perspective. Overall, fatal injuries in construction have been on a downward trend in the last 5 years.

The Right Mindset

“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,” White stressed.

The majority of deaths during this 2010-2011 time period occurred on small construction sites. White noted that large construction companies have shown “steady improvements” over the last 10 years, and smaller companies should follow their 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,” White explained.

The rate of fatal injury in U.K. construction has increased to 2.4 per 100,000 workers compared to 1.9 per 100,000 workers in 2009-10. This compares to an average rate of 2.8 for the previous 5 years.

About the Author

Laura Walter

Laura Walter was formerly senior editor of EHS Today. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and has covered a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Her debut novel, Body of Stars (Dutton) was published in 2021.

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