Health and safety

Photo © Portakabin Group / Yorkon

Although great improvements have been made over the last 40 years, the UK construction industry continues to be a dangerous place in which to work.

The industry accounts for only 5% of employees, but it accounts for 31% of fatal injuries to employees, and 10% of reported major / specified injuries.

In 2013 and 2014 there were 42 fatal injuries to workers – a small improvement over previous years. There were also an estimated 2.3 million working days lost, of which 1.7 million were due to ill health and 592,000 due to workplace injury. Over half the fatal injuries resulted from falls from height, contact with moving machinery and being struck by a vehicle. Falls and slips & trips accounted for 35% of employee injuries. Handling was the most frequent cause of over-seven-day injury.

Against this background there is a growing recognition that an approach to construction that involves an increased focus on assembling buildings and infrastructure on site from a set of quality engineered components offers an opportunity to address some of the fundamental causes of accidents. This includes reducing the number of trades on site, reducing the need for scaffolding and avoiding the site storage and handling of bulk materials.

The HSE are supportive of this position and also supportive of the health and safety benefits of an increased roll for offsite construction methods.

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