Construction worker killed by excavator but site deaths show slight dip

A construction worker was crushed to death by an excavator in North Lincolnshire on Tuesday last week, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed.

The 43-year-old man, a contractor for Amalgamated Construction, had been resurfacing a road under a railway bridge in Brigg when the incident occurred.

The man was taken to Scunthorpe General Hospital, where he later died.

Although the HSE was unsure exactly how the accident happened, it is believed the vehicle's brakes had not been secured.

Police are working with the HSE to find out whether any suspicious circumstances surround the incident.

Meanwhile, the HSE has released figures showing that around 30% of work-related deaths in the last year occurred in the construction sector.

Most of these deaths were entirely preventable

Alan Ritchie

The HSE said there were 72 work-related deaths in the industry in 2007/8, down from 77 the previous year.

Fatal accidents at work were down overall in Great Britain to 228, compared to 247 in 2006/7, though deaths in agriculture showed a slight rise.

Construction union Ucatt said the fatality figures made “grim reading” and “should serve as a wake-up call to the construction industry and the Health and Safety Executive”.

Alan Ritchie, general secretary of Ucatt, said: “Every one of these deaths is an individual tragedy for a family who has lost a loved one. Most of these deaths were entirely preventable. Unfortunately too many people in the construction industry consider that deaths and serious injuries are almost an occupational hazard.”

He added that the HSE should be taking a more rigorous approach to inspections, enforcements and prosecutions.

HSE chair Judith Hackitt said: “The high levels of fatalities in the agriculture and construction sectors continue to be of particular concern to us and will be a major focus of HSE’s work priorities over the coming year.”