27 July 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The average rate of fatal injury in construction is four times as high as the average rate across all industries, according to the latest figures from the Health & Safety Executive.
In comparison with all workplace fatalities, falls from height cause the most fatalities, and one-third of deaths over the past five years were of self-employed workers.
The statistics also highlight per 100,000 workers, 60-64-year-olds average at 0.97 fatalities, with those aged 65-plus averaging 2.10. The lowest fatalities are for those ages 16 to 24.
The HSE said the provisional annual data for work-related fatal injuries revealed that 144 workers were fatally injured between April 2017 and March 2018 (a rate of 0.45 per 100,000 workers).
Although this represents an increase of nine fatalities from 2016/17, there has been a long-term reduction in the number of fatalities since 1981 and the number has remained broadly level in recent years.
Martin Temple, HSE chair, said: "Despite the fact that Britain's health and safety record is the envy of much of the world, the increase in the number of workers fatally injured is clearly a source of concern.
"Published in the same week as the 30th anniversary of the Piper Alpha [North Sea oil rig] disaster, the figures serve as a reminder of why health and safety is so important and that we must not become complacent as we continue on our mission to prevent all forms of injury, death and ill health at work."
Jonathan Seymour, business leader for HCL Safety, said: "As a business, we are shocked and deeply saddened by the statistics revealed by the HSE. With work at height legislation being more stringent in comparison to previous years, I would expect these figures to be a lot lower. Whether the reasoning is due to working at height seeming to be a complex subject, or attitudes when it comes to health and safety, something has got to change."
Seymour added: "Looking at the statistics around age is particularly interesting. Across the industry, education and training is being ramped up to ensure safety remains the number one priority. This is clear to see in vocational education for example, where safety training is now incorporated into the teaching syllabus. This has had a knock-on effect where those in the younger age brackets now expect higher standards from their employers. We can see this correlating with the statistics - fatal injuries are at their lowest for those aged 16-24."
See the figures here.