Research Reveals Shocking Number of Construction Accidents

New research has revealed that workers took 4.3 million sick days between 2014 and 2017, with 568,000 being the result of an accident in the workplace.

Employers are losing on average 1.4 million days of workers’ productivity each year due to sickness.

The construction industry alone lost 392,000 work days between 2014 and 2017 due to employees self-reporting illness caused or made worse by their job, according to the research findings from Direct Line for Business

Construction industry accidents
Between 2012 and 2017 there were 26,196 non-fatal accidents recorded on building sites and 196 fatal incidents. Half of fatal accidents on a building site were the result of workers falling from height. However, not all dangers are at height. When it comes to non-fatal accidents, more than 100,000 people were injured following a slip, trip or fall, while 84,734 recorded an injury when handling, lifting or carrying something. 

During 2015/16, a total of 246 construction cases were brought to trial by the Health and Safety Executive for safety failings that resulted in at least one conviction, while 83% of these cases resulted in the employer being issued with a fine. In the following year, the number of cases brought to trial that resulted in a conviction fell to 206, with the number of fines also falling 76%.

Proving that improvements have been made to health and safety, 2016/17 saw the lowest number of fatal accidents in the construction industry in the last 5 years with just 30 deaths, compared to 47 in 2015/16. This decrease was driven by a decline in the number of fatal accidents caused by falling from a height, while deaths caused by being trapped by a collapsed or overturned item fell by 88%.

Matt Boatwright, Head of Direct Line for Business, said, “Many jobs are dangerous, but the construction industry in particular comes with a lot of risks. A simple slip or fall could have disastrous consequences for an employee and a business as a whole.

“It’s reassuring to see there are areas where improvements have been made and fewer people are being injured, but businesses shouldn’t become complacent but remain on top of these things to constantly improve.”

Direct Line for Business’ tips for staying safe on site:

  1. Check tools and equipment regularly and make sure employees are wearing the correct protective gear (PPE)
  2. Ensure training programmes are implemented, recorded and up-to-date to maintain good safety standards
  3. Register for the Construction Skills Certification Scheme – this is a great way for employers to make sure everyone on site has the appropriate qualifications and training for the job they are doing
  4. Ensure risk assessments and method statements are done to make everyone aware of any risks they may face on site
  5. Display clear signage to warn workers and the public of any potential dangers.


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