New figures show an increase in construction industry fatalities

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New figures show an increase in construction industry fatalities

6th July 2011

A workplace accident specialist has urged for a greater emphasis on training and construction site safety awareness after new figures reported a rise in the number of workers killed in the last twelve months.

Statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for the year April 2010 to March 2011 show the number of workers killed in the construction industry rose to 50, an increase from the previous year, when 41 died.

Michael Latner, of Fentons Solicitors LLP, said: “This increase is extremely disappointing. Although the numbers of fatal injuries in the construction industry have seen an overall dip in the last five years, this does not change the fact that 50 workers failed to come home last year.

“We are still seeing far too many cases where injuries and deaths could have been avoided,” added Michael, an associate with the firm. “It is crucial the industry continues to follow safety procedures and does everything it possibly can to raise awareness of construction site risks to ensure the number of unnecessary injuries that occur each year are minimised.”

The rate of fatal accidents 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 five years.

The majority of fatalities continue to occur on small construction sites. The larger construction companies have shown steady improvements over the last ten years, but the smaller firms continue to lag behind.

“Contrary to what many people think, this is not due to a lack of money and resources, it is more to do with mindset,” said Michael. “Firms need to put risk assessments and safety awareness at the forefront of their planning procedures. Employers must ensure the safety measures they have in place are up to industry-standard and do everything they can to ensure their staff are protected.

"The construction industry continues to see more deaths than any other industrial sector,” added Michael, “There needs to be an increase in the number of unannounced construction site safety inspections. If poor practice and inadequate safety standards are discovered, measures must be taken to close sites and prosecute those responsible.

“Tried and tested safety procedures are there for a reason,” continued Michael. “If employers choose not to abide by the rules, if they choose not to heed warnings and fail to protect their workers then they must be seen to pay the price. It is important to remember that the vast majority of construction site fatalities are entirely preventable and that every one of the 50 deaths the industry has witnessed over the last 12 months has brought heartbreak and devastation to the hundreds of loved ones that are left behind.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of accidents at work. If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Read more: HSE