Majority of deaths occured on small construction sites according to HSE

The numbers of workers killed on construction sites increased last year for the first time in four years. Provisional data released by the Health and Safety Executive shows the number of workers killed was 50, up from 41 the year before.

The last time there was an increase in fatalities was in 2007 when 79 workers were killed on construction sites across the country. 

The increase in fatalities is likely to be a major point of concern amongst HSE chiefs – as it comes during a period of modest activity within the sector.

According to the HSE’s chief construction advisor the majority of deaths occurred on small construction sites. The HSE has urged smaller companies to take a similar lead to the big construction companies and prioritise on-site safety.

Philip White, HSE’s chief construction inspector, said: “The construction industry continues to see more deaths than any other industrial sector.

“We must not lose sight of the fact that 50 construction workers failed to come home last year, and that will have devastated those they leave behind.”

Construction union Ucatt has called on the government to urgently rethink its plans to cut the funding of the Health and Safety Executive.

George Guy, acting general secretary of Ucatt, said: “These latest figures must serve as an urgent wake up call for the government and their policy of cutting safety laws and legislation.

“This rise in deaths occurred before the government’s cuts kicked in. By slashing the HSE’s budget and the organisation’s effectiveness the government are in reality giving a green light to business to avoid taking safety laws seriously.”