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31% of accidents are in construction

Health and Safety at work figures for 2007/8 show a decrease in the number of people killed in construction compared to the year before, but 31% of all fatal injuries are in construction.

There were 72 fatal injuries to workers in construction in 2007/08, 7 fewer - a 9% decrease - on the previous year.

Of these 72 fatalities, 54 were employees and 18 were self-employed, compared to 54 and 25 in 2006/07.

The rate of fatal injury to workers in construction decreased to 3.4 per 100 000 workers, from 3.8 per 100 000 workers in 2006/07.

The rate of fatal injuries in construction had been falling until last year, when a spike of fatal injuries was blamed on non-English speakers being more vulnerable in construction compared to English speakers.

The number of reported major injuries to employees in rose slightly, from 3730 in 2006/07 to 3764 in 2007/8, with the rates rising correspondingly - 300.7 per 100 000 employees in 2006/07 to 302.9 per 100 000 employees in 2007/08.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statement said the number of deaths and injuries had been falling until last year. "It is as yet unclear whether the rise in 2007/08 represents the end of this downward trend. The rate of reported major injury among those employed in construction is the highest of any main industry group."

These most common injuries reported in construction in 2007/08 were handling - accounting for 29% of reported injuries to workers, and slips and trips 25%.

Compared to workers across other industries, construction has higher proportions of reported injuries caused by falls from a height (15% of construction injuries compared to 5% across other industries) and moving/falling objects (16% construction, 12% other industries).

Contact with moving machinery accidents account for 4% of worker injuries in construction, compared to 3% across other industries.

In comparison with other industries a much higher proportion of all reported injuries within construction are serious, i.e. the ratio of fatal and major injuries to over-3-day injuries is higher in construction than most other industries.

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