Department of Work and Pensions commissions investigation by HSE into recent fatalities

An inquiry has been ordered into deaths within the construction industry by the Department for Work and Pensions.

In a report to the HSE’s board of directors, chief executive, Geoffrey Podger said: “The Secretary of State (SoS) attended a meeting on vulnerable workers at 10 Downing Street on 24 June 2008. At this meeting, the SoS undertook to commission from HSE an investigation into recent deaths in the construction industry.”

In the past 25 years, more than 2,800 people have died from injuries they received as a result of construction work. In 2006/07, there were 77 fatal injuries to workers in construction, a 28% increase on the previous year.

Of these, 50 were employees, and 27 were self-employed. Thirty-two per cent of all worker deaths last year were in the construction industry.

The inquiry into construction deaths is a direct result of sustained campaigning by Ucatt

Alan Richie, Ucatt

“Within the construction division, scrutiny of fatal accidents is already carried out to inform the plan of work,” said Podger. “With that current plan there is a project dealing with vulnerable workers which has recently agreed to fund two outreach workers in East London as a pilot exercise.”

A spokesperson from Ucatt confirmed the inquiry, which he said followed a “tremendous amount of lobbying by UCATT about the continuing high number of deaths in the construction industry.”

General secretary of Ucatt Alan Ritchie, said: “The inquiry into construction deaths is a direct result of sustained campaigning by Ucatt of both the Government and the HSE. Without this, the inquiry would not be happening.”

“We need to come up with measures that will save lives,” the spokesperson for UCATT added. “Too many construction bosses play fast and lose lives.”