Injuries in the construction industry

Accidents or injuries occur in the construction industry every year and although only 5% of the UK’s workforce is employed by this sector, figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that it is responsible for 22% of fatalities and 10% of major injuries.

According to HSE figures 144 workers were fatally injured between April 2017 and March 2018. The three most common causes of fatal injuries are due to workers falling from height, being struck by a moving vehicle and being struck by a moving object.

Responsibility for workers in any sector lies with employers and business owners who should ensure that staff are fully trained and abide by current health and safety guidelines.

Chris Chapman, head of CDM services and technical support manager for the Building Safety Group, said: ‘The construction industry remains four times more dangerous than the national average for other industries.

‘A major seed change in our attitude towards health and safety is needed if we are to improve on these figures and start to show a true reduction to the point where no one is killed at work. This is a perfectly achievable goal with more training and better guidance.’

However, it’s not only construction workers who need to be protected. Members of the public have been fatally or seriously injured when near construction sites.

As a result of this, the HSE has produced a free downloadable copy of its guide ‘Protecting the public – your next move.’ It’s aimed at anyone working in the construction industry and has valuable information which could prevent accidents.

The HSE states: ‘Construction work can kill people who do not work directly in the industry. The importance of protecting such people cannot be emphasised enough.

‘Members of the public and children are killed or seriously injured from construction activity in accidents which could have been prevented. This guidance is aimed at all those involved in construction, not only the principal contractor, but also the client, CDM co-ordinator and designer, where appropriate.

‘It contains practical advice on how those designing, planning, maintaining and carrying out construction work can minimise the risks to those who are not involved in the construction process but may be affected.’

Accident prevention advice for employers in construction sites:

  • Ensure all staff are full trained and aware of accident management procedures
  • Follow guidelines issued by bodies such as the HSE and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
  • Ensure staff attend regular safety meetings and are provided with updates
  • Equip staff with the relevant protective clothing and equipment
  • Maintain construction sites and equipment used, adhering to health and safety guidelines
  • Complete regular risk management assessments focussing on accident prevention

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