The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) annual statistic reports released in November 2023 shed light on a troubling rise in work-related stress, depression, anxiety, and injuries, posing significant challenges to both employees and employers alike.
Jamie Lyons our Consultancy Manager/Senior Health & Safety Advisor takes a closer look into these alarming statistics and what this means for the scaffolding industry.
Despite significant advancements in safety within the construction industry over the years, it is disconcerting to see a 55% increase in fatalities since last year, marking the highest rate across all industries according to HSE statistics. Sadly, 45 individuals in the construction sector did not return home from work, underscoring our industries efforts to prioritise health, safety, and well-being of workers.
HSE data further reveals that 51% of fatalities were due to a fall from height and that the construction sector consistently ranks among the top two for reported non-fatal workplace injuries, closely trailing agriculture
53,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries at work since 2022/23 and the HSE data further reveals that 26% of these injuries where from slips, trips or falls on the same level, making this the remaining leading cause of non-fatal injury to workers, accounting for nearly one-third of all injuries.
Of the workers suffering from work-related ill health, 54% were found to be suffering from musculoskeletal disorders. This has been on the HSE’s radar for some time with the ongoing ‘Work Right Construction: Your Health. Your Future’ campaign that had been developed to raise awareness of the risks when moving and handling materials on site and provide advice for employers and workers.
While risks in construction may be inherently higher than in many other sectors, there remains a pressing need to control risks, in turn, enhancing worker safety but in despite these challenges, there is a silver lining for the construction industry. Encouragingly, reported cases of work-related ill health in construction are lower than the industry average. Acknowledging the ongoing efforts to enhance worker well-being, it is heartening to see some positive improvements from the collective endeavours within the construction sector. However, as an industry we should still recognise that there is always room for improvement.
To sum up, the HSE report emphasises the health and safety challenges within the construction sector with the fatal injury rate in this industry being 1.72 per 100,000 workers which is around 4.2 times the all industry rate. While certain statistics underscore the inherent risks in the industry, others showcase the commitment to upholding a safe work environment.