Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

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Construction workplace deaths increase in 2019/20

2 July 2020

Construction workplace deaths rose to 40 in 2019/20, up from a low of 31 in the previous year.

The figure for the past year was also slightly higher than the five-year annual average of 37 deaths in the sector for 2015/16 to 2019/20. Over the past five years, the number of deaths per year has ranged from 31 to 47.

Source: HSE

The rate of fatal injuries in construction per 100,000 workers also rose in 2019/20 to 1.74, up from 1.64 in the previous year. This was higher than the all-industry average workplace fatal injury rate of 0.34 per 100,000 workers in 2019/20, but lower than sectors like agriculture, forestry and fishing (5.96) and waste and recycling (4.57).

Meanwhile, four members of the public were killed by construction activity in 2019/20.

Across all sectors, there were 111 workers killed in fatal accidents at work between April 2019 and March 2020. This figure does not include deaths from occupational disease and covid-19 deaths were also not part of the figures.

Source: HSE

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) added that an overall fall in workplace fatal injuries in 2019/20 of 38 compared to the previous year could have been accentuated by the impact of coronavirus on the economy.

The three most common causes of fatal injuries across all industries continue to be: workers falling from height (29), being struck by a moving vehicle (20) and being struck by a moving object (18), together accounting for 60% of fatal injuries in 2019/20.

The new figures continue to highlight the risks to older workers; 27% of fatal injuries in 2019/20 were to workers aged 60 or over, even though such workers make up only around 10% of the workforce.

HSE’s chief executive, Sarah Albon, said: “No one should be hurt or killed by the work they do. In these extraordinary times, we have seen many workers risking their lives to help others during the coronavirus outbreak. Although these statistics are not a reflection on Covid-19 related loss of life, it is a pertinent time to reflect.

“Every workplace fatality is a tragedy and while we are encouraged by this improvement, today’s statistics is a reminder that we cannot become complacent as we look to continue to work together to make Great Britain an even safer place to live and work.”