HSE reports 55% increase in construction fatalities
The number of people who lost their lives as a result of a construction-related incident increased to 45 in 2022/2023 compared with 29 the previous year, according to new figures.
Annual statistics on work-related ill health and workplace injuries published today by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also revealed that non-fatal injuries in construction per 100,000 workers equated to 2,640, compared to the all-industry average of 1,520.
In addition, work-related ill health impacted 3,340 workers per 100,000 in construction compared to the all-industry average of 4,150.
Overall, the statistics reveal that 1.8 million workers reported they were suffering from work-related ill health in 2022/23, with approximately half of the cases down to stress, depression or anxiety.
In the recent years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of self-reported work-related ill health had been broadly flat, but the current rate is higher than 2018/19.
There were an estimated 875,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2022/23. The current rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety is higher than the pre-pandemic level.
An estimated 35.2 million working days were lost in 2022/23 due to self-reported work-related ill health or injury.
HSE’s chief executive Sarah Albon said: “Preventing or tackling work-related stress can provide significant benefits to employees, improving their experience of work and their overall health; and also to employers including increased productivity, decreased absenteeism and reduced staff turnover.”
HSE’s statistics also reveal the impact work-related ill health and workplace injuries are having on Britain’s economic performance.
In 2021/22, the estimated annual costs of workplace injury and new cases of work-related ill health reached £20.7 billion, representing a £1.9 billion increase compared with 2019/20.
The figures also show that 135 workers were killed in work-related accidents in 2022/23, while 561,000 workers sustained a self-reported non-fatal injury in the workplace during the same period.
Caroline Gumble, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Building, said: “While there has clearly been huge progress over the years when it comes to safety in construction, it’s concerning the number of fatalities in the sector has risen sharply by 55 per cent since last year, and is the highest of any industry according to the statistics released by the HSE today.
“Sadly 45 people in our sector never made it home from work and we owe it to them, their loved ones and their colleagues to continue putting health, safety and wellbeing at the forefront of every project while providing workers with the relevant training, equipment and PPE to safely carry out their jobs. Our current #PPEthatfits campaign has safety at its heart and aims to improve the provision of properly fitting PPE for everyone in the sector regardless of their size, gender or religion.
“The HSE data also shows the construction sector remains in the top two for reported workplace non-fatal injuries, closely behind agriculture, and while the risks of working in the industry compared to many other sectors will always be higher, there is clearly more to do when it comes to protecting worker safety. We will continue to do all we can to play our part in keeping this subject high on the industry’s agenda through our training academy and engagement with our members, the wider sector and policymakers.
“It’s not all bad news for construction however and it’s encouraging to see reported instances of work-related ill health are lower than the average across all industries. As a sector, a great amount of work has gone into improving worker wellbeing, and while there is always more that can be done, some of that work appears to be paying off.”