Construction Deaths Remain High in South East England

Detailed analysis by construction union UCATT has revealed that six construction workers were killed in South East England in 2009/10. The six fatalities was the same number of deaths in the region as the previous year 2008/9.

Although deaths in the region remained static the number of deaths nationally declined substantially. The total number of construction deaths fell from 53 in 2008/9 to 42 in 2009/10. The decrease is due to the recession, which has reduced construction workloads and led to fewer people working in the industry.

Construction is the most dangerous industry in Britain. The industry is made more dangerous due to its highly casualised nature. Many workers do not have employment contracts, are falsely self-employed, or regularly move between employers. There has also been a substantial increase in employment agencies, gangmasters and payroll companies, operating in the industry.

Jerry Swain , Regional Secretary for UCATT London and the South East, said: “These figures underline just how dangerous the construction industry is, each death was an individual tragedy, where a family lost a loved one. Everyone involved in the construction industry needs to work far harder to improve safety and reduce deaths and injuries.”

The most common form of death was falls. This accounted for 25 out of the 42 deaths, 60% of the total. There was also an increase in the number of workers who were killed by being hit by a moving vehicle.

Mr Swain, added: “I am concerned that as clients seek increased savings on projects, that these savings are being achieved at the expense of workers safety. Construction companies have an obligation to ensure the well being of all workers under their control. UCATT will continue to challenge those employers who show a callous disregard for construction workers safety.”

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