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CONSTRUCTION & WORKPLACE FATALITIES: HOW TO MINIMISE RISK

Author: Richard Snarey

Published date: 2019/12

Coninj

​Earlier this year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released its annual figures for work-related fatal injuries for 2018/19. Here, we delve into the critical details that you need to know and how to effectively plan for the year ahead to ensure a safer and more efficient workplace. 

Construction Workplace Fatalities Remain High

Construction, manufacturing, fishing and agriculture make up the top industries where fatalities arise. However, the number of fatal injuries to workers in construction in 2018/19 is the lowest number on record at 30, similar to the previous low in 2016/17 (31). However, the number has fluctuated over the last five years ranging between 30 and 47 (in 2015/16).

The three most common causes of fatal injuries, accounting for almost 60 per cent, are: 

  • Workers falling from height 

  • Being struck by a moving vehicle 

  • Being struck by a moving object.

UK Raising The Bar

The UK consistently has one of the lowest rates of fatal injury across the EU. Since the 1990s, there’s been a long-term downward trend up to 2013/14 where the rate remains flat. 

Following the report, HSE chair Martin Temple said: “These statistics remind us that, in certain sectors of the economy, workplace death remain worryingly high. Whatever the sector, we should remember that any change in numbers provides little comfort to the family, friends and colleagues of the 147 whose lives were cut short this year while doing their job.”

The Future = Risk Assessments 

The modern workforce has meant that employees have access to better ways of working. With that said, traditional methods (some as simple as safety nets for scaffolding sites) shouldn’t be ignored in the face of new ways of working and technological innovations.

One thing’s for sure; these HSE figures demonstrate the importance of a good old-fashioned risk assessment for all businesses to protect the safety of workers and anyone else who could be affected by work-related incidents.

A risk assessment is defined as a structured method of ensuring the risks to the health, safety and wellbeing of employees and customers are suitably eliminated, reduced or controlled. Its primary purpose is to: 

  • Identify health and safety hazards and evaluate the risks presented within the workplace

  • Evaluate the effectiveness and suitability of existing control measures

  • Ensure additional controls (including procedural) are implemented wherever the remaining risk is considered to be anything other than low.

  • Prioritise further resources if needed.

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