According to experts, when asked to name a dangerous way of making a living, many people would respond with the construction industry.
This is concluded from figures published by the Health and Safety Executive for workplace fatal injuries. The figures showed that in recent years there was a rate of 1.94 deaths per 100,000 workers. This doesn’t sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things but it is actually four times the rate for the overall working population!
1.3 million workers are also suffering from work related illnesses. That’s a whopping 30.4 million working days that are lost due to work related illness and injury. Well, that’s if workers can actually get the time off anyway.
However, for those who do get the time off, it costs businesses a massive £14.1 billion! This also doesn’t take workplace injuries into account either. Annually, work related illnesses cost companies an extra £4.8 billion!
Construction injuries though are in fact down by 0.9%. However, construction related illnesses have increased by 11.7% in recent years. There was ten times as many deaths in 2014 than in 1974, mainly due to exposure to asbestos which is the most common health hazard in the industry. 144 workers though have been killed at work in recent year, a fall of 85% since 1974.
Despite these high figures though the UK has the least fatal injuries compared to other EU economies. This includes France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland. However, the UK does come in second place when looking at the percentage of of self reported work related injuries and health problems that result in sick leave.
Therefore, pressure for improvement needs to be maintained. There cannot just be improvement for work related injuries though, the same must also be done for work related illnesses. This is because construction workers are 100 times more likely to die from a work related disease than to be involved in a fatal accident!
So what do you think? Do you feel the construction industry is a dangerous sector to work in? Let us know in the comments below.