Construction takes major strides towards a safer workplace

A report from the Health and Safety Executive shows that deaths and major injuries in the construction industry have fallen by 24% in the last five years, the biggest improvement in any industry sector. Comparing figures from 1999/2000 and 2004/2005, the report found that the number of injuries that resulted in an absence from work of three or more days had fallen by 35% in construction, against 15% across all industries.

Stephen Williams, chief inspector of construction, said that one particular area of concern was falls from heights, which accounted for almost 40% of the 71 workers who died in 2004/2005 in the industry. He called for better leadership to bring in the cultural and behavioural changes needed to make further improvements. He said: “Each death is one too many, and simple measures could have prevented them. I want to see an industry that gets health and safety right first time, right from the start and with the right people involved."

Chair of the Health and Safety Commission Bill Callaghan said: “I am pleased to see the reduction in cases of occupational ill health and the continuing reduction in the rate of fatal and major injuries in the production industries, especially in construction, but it would be complacent to think we had cracked the problem of health at work. Today’s figures suggest that our strategy is beginning to bear fruit but an even greater focus is needed.”