The number of deaths on construction sites fell 26% in the last year, despite it remaining one of the “most dangerous” industries to work in, according to the lastest figures from the Health and Safety Executive released today.
Site deaths in the industry fell to 53 between 1 April 2008 to 31 March, compared with 72 the previous year. Fatalities at work across all sectors fell to 180 from 233 the previous year.
“We very much welcome any reduction in the number of construction workers being fatally injured,” said HSE chief inspector of construction Philip White. “But the fact that 53 construction workers failed to come home from their jobs last year because of avoidable safety failings is a terrible tragedy, not a cause for celebration.
“It is too soon to say that this is part of an acceleration of the long-term downward trend or to pin point any single reason why the number of fatalities has fallen.
“Clearly we are in the midst of a recession, but it would be too simple to just chalk the fall up to current challenging trading conditions facing the industry. We know from evidence of past downturns that when the period of economic recovery comes it generally sees an increase in the rate and number of workers losing their lives.
“I don’t want to be talking in 12 months time about a tragic rise in the number of people who have been killed simply doing their job.”
The figures show:
- 53 workers were killed at work in 2008/09, a fall of 26 per cent on 2007/08 when 72 workers died
- The rate of fatal injuries in the sector was 2.4 per 100,000 workers, making it one of the most dangerous industries in which to work
- The average rate of fatal injury in construction over the last five years has been 3.4
- In each of the last five years, the number of fatal injuries has been: 2007/08 – 72 workers died; 2006/07 – 79 workers died; 2005/06 – 60 workers died; 2004/05 – 69 workers died; 2003/04 – 71 workers died
- The provisional worker figure for 2008/09 consists of 33 deaths to employees and 20 deaths to self employed people