15% increase in construction fatalities in the past year

New data has found that fatal accidents in the UK construction industry have risen by almost 20% in the last five years. In 2022/23, 45 fatal injuries were reported, an increase of 15% compared to the previous year.

Falling from a height is still the number one cause of fatal and non-fatal incidents in the construction sector. Those working in the industry are three times more likely to experience falling from a height than experiencing an injury through something collapsing or overturning.

Being struck by a moving vehicle and a moving object were the second and third most common fatal accidents for workers, respectively. Between them, these accidents account for around two-thirds of fatal injuries to workers in 2022/23.

The rate of deaths per 100,000 workers also surged by 22% in 2022, reaching 2.1 per 100,000, compared to 1.72 in 2021. The death rate in the construction sector is three times higher than in the transportation and storage industry. This increases to over seven times higher than those working in the waste and recycling industries.

The findings, collated by specialist providers of cherry picker hire in London, Herts Tools, used construction statistics from the Health and Safety Executive reports from 2022 to 2023. The analysis demonstrates the severity of accidents in the construction industry, continuing to rise year after year, and how workers and workplaces are being affected.

The data also revealed a significant rise in the number of days lost per construction worker due to injuries, as 6.4 days were recorded in 2022, resulting in an uptick of 23% since 2021.

Injuries and ill health in workers in Great Britain cost around £16.2 billion in 2018/19, in comparison to £20.6 billion in 2022/23.

Stefano Lobban, Director at Herts Tools, says, “Although there will always be accidents in the construction industry, we can never stop trying to reduce them. These latest findings show just how far we have to go, with fatalities continuing to rise, despite the UK having some of the most thorough health and safety regulations anywhere.

“Training is key to protecting workers, whether it’s highlighting dangers or teaching workers to make their own risk assessments on site, and then there’s ensuring workers have all the PPE they need, such as helmets, safety goggles and slip-resistant footwear.”

 How can companies prevent accidents on construction sites?

  • Training and education: Provide thorough training on safety protocols and equipment operation.
  • Regulatory compliance: Ensure adherence to safety regulations through regular inspections.
  • Equipment maintenance: Maintain machinery and tools to prevent accidents caused by faults.
  • Clear communication: Use visible signage and encourage reporting of safety concerns.
  • Risk assessment: Conduct thorough assessments and develop mitigation strategies.
  • Safety culture: Promote a culture where safety is prioritised through open communication and regular meetings.

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