Construction deaths up

Figures show the building industry clearly needs to examine its safety

More workers died on building sites in the past nine months on record than
in the whole of the previous 12 months, leading to serious concerns about
safety in the construction trade, the Health and Safety Commission has said.

From last March to December 2001, a total of 86 workers were killed on
construction sites, compared with 85 workers killed between April 1999 and
March 2000.

The 1999/2000 figure also showed a substantial increase on statistics for
the previous year, in which 68 people were killed on construction sites, said
the commission.

But the number of accidents in the sector also increased – although less
sharply, with 5,040 people suffering major injuries in 1999/2000 and 10,292
suffering injuries that kept them off work for more than three days.

This compared with 5,034 and 9,576 respectively reported the year before.

Nevertheless, construction workers were six times more likely to have an
accident at work than the average British worker, said the HSC.

The manufacturing sector reported 46 worker deaths in the nine months to
December 2000, with 39 deaths reported in agriculture and 51 deaths in the
service industries.

The sharp rise in the fatalities in the construction sector has led the HSC
to challenge the industry to improve its health and safety record.

Health and Safety Commission chairman Bill Callaghan called on the industry
to commit itself to action, urging those within construction to draw up their
own action plans to meet Government safety targets.

"We know what kills people and we know how to prevent accidents, but we
can’t have a health and safety inspector on all of the million or so
construction sites," he said.

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