Dangerous work practices can put lives at risk
10 Nov 2010
Firms who employ dangerous working practices could be putting their workers' lives at risk.
Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that between April 2009 and March 2010, the number of major injuries fell by 14 per cent compared to the previous 12 months, dropping from 3,307 to 2,585.
Injuries sufficiently serious to keep people off work for three or more days fell by eight per cent, continuing the trend of the past decade.
There were 42 workplace fatalities in the construction injury in 2009-10, with 12 of the victims self-employed. This is some way below the five-year average of 66 deaths per year.
The overall rate of fatal injury decreased from 2.5 per 100,000 workers in 2008-09, to 2.2 for the most recent period.
However, work-related ill health remained at a similar level, with an estimated 82,000 cases at a rate of 3,700 per 100,000 employees.
The data was published just as the HSE received formal notification of six construction deaths in one week, making it one of the worst periods in recent history.
Philip White, HSE's chief inspector of construction, said: "While the fact that fewer people are being killed or seriously injured is encouraging, the construction industry retains its unwanted record of accounting for more fatal injuries than any other sector.
"As Britain moves out of recession and work starts up again, we must continue to focus on real health and safety, especially in construction where the risks are all too real all the time. The great tragedy is that so many of these deaths, injuries and illnesses are entirely preventable and can be tracked back to the same basic failings."
The biggest cause of fatalities in the construction industry is falls from height, while being struck by a moving or falling object is also a major contributor.