Rise in the number of UK construction fatalities

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The number of construction worker deaths in the last year has increased, according to the latest HSE figures…

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveal a sharp increase in the number of fatalities in the construction sector.

The construction sector is a dangerous one, meaning health and safety is always at the forefront of any project. In fact, more workers are killed in this sector than in any other industry, including those considered high risk.

For example, agriculture only saw 27 deaths last year, and had a five-year average of 32, while manufacturing had 27 deaths, compared to a five-year average of 22.

According to the data, some 43 construction workers were killed in the workplace in the year to 31 March 2016. This was up 23 per cent when compared to 2014/15, which saw just 35 fatalities. However it was the same as the average for the previous five years.

Asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma saw a slight decline, attributing to only 2,515 deaths in 2014. Compared to 2,556 in 2013.

In response to the figures, construction union UCATT said the HSE buried the bad news by releasing the figures during the Chilcot Report.

Brian Rye, acting general secretary of UCATT, said: “This is clearly a case of burying bad news. At a time when we have huge amounts of political turmoil and the Chilcot Report finally being published, the HSE decided to publish the latest fatality figures. They have effectively brushed them under the carpet. They could and should have waited just a single day.”

He added: “Each and every one of these fatalities is an individual tragedy and a family will have been left devastated by the loss of a loved one.

“If we are to improve safety in our industry we need to properly address the reasons why people continue to die. Hiding the figures will make the situation worse not better.”

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