Construction worker deaths increase 27%

5 July 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

The number of deaths among construction workers has risen by 27% to 38 in the year to March 2018, according to new figures.

The total was revealed as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released its annual figures for work-related fatal injuries for 2017/18, as well as the number of people known to have died from the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma.

There were 38 fatal injuries to construction workers during the period, up from 30 in the previous year.

That meant that construction accounted for the largest share of fatal injuries of any industry.

The annual average rate of fatal injuries per 100,000 workers in construction was 1.64 during the year.

That was four times as high as the average rate across all industries, although lower than the rate found in both agriculture and waste and recycling.

It is also lower than the annual average rate of fatal injuries in construction in 2013/14, which was 1.77 per 100,000 workers.

Some 29 deaths to agricultural workers were recorded during the year to March 2018, with 12 among waste and recycling workers, and 15 in both the manufacturing and transport and storage sectors.

In total, there were 144 fatal injuries during the year.

Overall, the three most common causes of fatal injuries continue to be due to; workers falling from height (35), being struck by a moving vehicle (26) and being struck by a moving object (23), accounting for nearly 60 per cent of fatal injuries in 2017/18.

Mesothelioma, contracted through past exposure to asbestos and one of the few work-related diseases where deaths can be counted directly, killed 2,595 in Great Britain in 2016. The current figures are largely a consequence of occupational asbestos exposures that occurred before 1980.

HSE chair Martin Temple 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."

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