THE HEALTH AND SAFETY Executive (HSE) has published its latest statistics on work-related health and safety in Great Britain.
The annual figures for 2018/19 show:
- 4 million working people suffering from work-related ill health
- 2,526 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2017)
- 147 workers killed at work
- 581,000 injuries occurred at work according to the Labour Force Survey
- 69,208 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
- 2 million working days lost due to work-related ill health and workplace injury
- £15 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2017/18)
In construction, there were 30 fatal injuries, which is below the five-year average number of annual fatalities in construction of 36. However, the fatal injury rate in construction (1.31 per 100,000 workers) is three times that of the all industry rate.
Falls from height in roofing
Almost half (49%) of fatal injuries in 2018/2019 were as a result of falls from height.
The RIDDOR figures for deaths from falls of height in SIC codes 41 and 43 (roofing) showed 28 fatalities, 15 employed and 13 self-employed.
Gary Walpole, NFRC Safety, Health & Environmental Officer comments: “Although there have been no reported fatalities among NFRC members in the past five years and our accident rate is six times less than the construction average, the latest statistics released by the HSE continue to be a cause for concern. One of the most worrying parts for me is the rise in fatalities of workers over the age of 60 in all industries, which is a sure sign that we have an ageing workforce.
“Working with the HSE and other stakeholders in the NFRC Health & Safety Committee, we aim to provide our members and the wider roofing industry with the latest safety guidance. The NFRC fully supports the Staying Alive: Preventing Serious Injury and Fatalities report published by the Working at Height All-Party Parliamentary Group in February 2019. Among the recommendations were enhanced reporting through RIDDOR, backed by an independent body to enable more confidential reporting of near misses. However, we also believe that parts of the construction industry must come together to drive culture change. This is why the NFRC is partnering with other organisations within the Access Industry Forum (AIF) to find ways to get the safety message out more effectively.”
For non-fatal injuries, there were 54,000 reports both over and under 7-day injuries. Out of these almost a fifth (18%) were falls from height, 10% above the all-industry percentage of 8%.
Meanwhile 79,000 construction workers reported suffering from work-related ill health (new or long-standing) in 2018-2019. Out of these, 62% suffered from musculoskeletal disorders they believed were work-related (new or long-standing cases). That accounts for around 2.1% of workers in the industry and is statistically significantly higher than the rate for workers across all industries (1.2%).
Out of the 79,000 construction workers reporting ill-health, there were an estimated 16,000 work-related cases of stress, depression or anxiety (new or long-standing) – almost a quarter (21%) of all ill health in construction.
HSE also reported that in 2018/2019 inspectors issued a total of 2,926 notices in construction. Of these, 55% were improvement notices and 45% were prohibition notices. Prohibition notices issued in the construction industry accounted for around 60% of the total number of prohibition notices issued by HSE in 2018/19. Meanwhile, there were 158 prosecutions, 146 successful with £15.7 million worth of fines charged.