Construction Deaths Remain Far Too High In London And The South East

Research undertaken by construction union UCATT has revealed that deaths in London and the South East remain worryingly high.

In 2007/8 18 construction workers were killed in UCATT’s London and South East Region compared to 20 deaths in 2006/7. Nationally during the same period construction deaths decreased slightly from 79 in 2006/7 to 72 in 2007/8.

There were 10 construction deaths in 2007/8 in London an increase of one on the previous year. In the South East region there were seven deaths a decrease of three from the previous 12 months.

Since 2002 the number of enforcement notices and prosecutions issued by the Health and Safety Executive has been declining. The decline in enforcement activity has been caused by budget cuts and a reduction in the number of frontline inspectors.

The industry has also become increasingly casualised, with a large increase in the number of workers supplied through employment agencies and Gangmasters. This has resulted in a large number of inexperienced workers being placed on construction sites.

Jerry Swain, Regional Secretary of UCATT’s London and South East Region, said: “Every one of those 18 deaths represents an individual tragedy for a family whose loved one never returned home. Sadly in the construction industry there remain far too many bosses who do not see health and safety as a priority. That attitude must be stamped out if we are going to substantially reduce fatalities in the future.”

Construction is the most dangerous occupation in Britain, analysis shows that nationally the most likely causes of deaths were: Fall from height (23 deaths), hit by a moving or flying object (16), electrocution (10).

It is estimated that management failure is a contributory factor in at least 70 per cent of construction deaths. However only 30 per cent of companies are prosecuted following the death of a construction worker.

Mr Swain, added: “In the last  two years there were 38 construction deaths in the region. This is a quarter of all deaths in the country. Many of these deaths barely even received a footnote in local papers. More must be done to highlight construction safety or sadly the high number of deaths will continue.”

For Further information contact Barckley Sumner on 0780 2329235

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