An analysis of the Health and Safety Executive’s figures for workplace accidents reveals that it is the construction industry that has the worst fatal injury statistics amongst the key industries in Britain.
The figures, which were released last month, show that 50 construction workers died while at work last year, an amount which has increased somewhat from the previous year.
Oddly, the figures have remained high despite the contraction in construction activity over the same period.
Industry experts suggest that the lack of provision of safety helmets or the lack of enforcement of their use may have contributed most to the continued high fatality figures in the construction industry. Many accidents are also due to the use of heavy machinery on construction sites.
The second highest fatality figures were for the agricultural sector with 34 fatalities. The number of fatalities has actually declined a little since the previous year. The agricultural industry’s main source of workplace accidents involves the use of agricultural machinery. Two common reasons for serious injuries in this sector are deficient training in the use of machinery so that poorly trained workers are using machinery which is potentially deadly as well as some of the machinery being faulty or in poor maintenance condition.
The number of fatalities in the manufacturing sector comes in third at 27 but the number of fatalities has at least not shown an increase from the previous year. The least number of fatalities is in the services sector.
What is particularly worrying about the figures that the HSE has released is that the total number of workplace related fatalities has actually increased overall to 171 from 147 in the previous year. This represents a 16% increase.
The HSE has contacted all employers to relay the information about the increase in fatalities and has asked them to be more vigilant about ensuring that workers are safe at work by complying with current HSE regulations. The HSE recommendations have been directed particularly to what they see as the most risky industries namely those mentioned above.
While not all accidents at work are due to poor safety conditions, if it can be proved that a workplace accident is due to the negligence of the employer then the injured victim should be legally entitled to a compensation payment to cover his / her expenses. All employers are responsible for ensuring that their workplaces remain safe places for their employees to work in.