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Now is not the time to be complacent on workplace health and safety within the construction industry

Despite improvements in recent years in HSE’s Construction Statistics report, trends are now going up in work place health and safety incidents.

It is estimated that 2% of construction workers suffered a muscoskeletal disorder (about 46,000 individuals), an increase on the previous year following four consecutive years of falling rates. And worse still, this compares with 1.1% in similar industries (agriculture, manufacturing, etc).

21,000 incidents of stress, depression or anxiety was also reported at a rate of 0.9%. While this is lower than the comparison with similar industries (1.6%) but it is well known that the construction industry has had issues with covering mental health issues in the past. This has improved but despite a frequency rate remaining fairly consistent in the previous four years, it has increased by around 50% this year.

The statistics don’t get any better.

In 2019/20, 40 individuals did not make it home after working on a construction site having lost their lives to work place incidents. In addition to this, four members of the public lost their lives as a result of construction. This fatal injury rate of 1.74 per 100,000 is a staggering four times greater than the rate in similar industries. This is the highest rate since 2016 showing a trend rebounding in the wrong direction.

In slightly better news (if you can call it that), the trend for injuring site workers does continue to decrease. However, there were 61,000 cases on non-fatal incidents with 27% of those resulting in a time off work greater than seven days.

This is all bad enough but there’s also a direct impact to the employers.

2.1million work days were lost as a result of injury and other health issues directly linked to work. This was at a cost of £1.2billion.

And with 1,086 prohibition notices, 944 improvement notices and 143 prosecution cases, now is not the time to be complacent on workplace health and safety within the construction industry.

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