New figures for the number of workers who were fatally injured in the construction sector have been released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

They show that between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010:

  • 41 construction workers were killed at work, compared to an average of 66 workers in the past five years and a fall of 21 per cent on 2008/09 when 52 workers died
  • The rate of fatal injuries in the sector was 2.0 per 100,000 workers, making it one of the most dangerous industries in which to work
  • Out of the 41 construction workers killed, 29 were employees and 12 were self-employed people
  • Four members of the public were also killed in accidents connected to work in the sector

HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction, Philip White said “While it’s heartening to see a continued reduction in the number of deaths in construction, it’s tempered by the fact that 41 workers failed to come home to their families last year because of avoidable safety failings.

“Construction continues to be one of the most dangerous industries in Great Britain and employers and workers must continue to take an uncompromising approach to safety.

“It’s too soon to say that the decrease in fatalities is down to any particular reason, but it is imperative that as the economy recovers, health and safety is seen as a priority – we know from past experience that economic recoveries tend to lead to an increase in worker deaths.”

The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.

The average rate of fatal injury in construction over the last five years has been 3.2 per 100,000 workers.

In each of the last five years, the number of fatal injuries has been:

  • 2008/09 – 52 workers died
  • 2007/08 – 72 workers died
  • 2006/07 – 79 workers died
  • 2005/06 – 60 workers died
  • 2004/05 – 69 workers died

2016 update: The amended version of Zaha Hadid’s plans have now also been scrapped in favour of a new model designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The new design will still come with a hefty price tag of 153bn yen (£825m), however this is a drastic reduction in cost when compared to Hadid’s original design proposal, which would have cost in excess of 252bn yen – giving it the controversial accolade of being the most expensive stadium ever to be built.

Original story:

Starchitect Zaha Hadid cut an interview on BBC Radio 4 short following a disagreement with presenter Sarah Montague.

An interview intended to discuss her winning the 2016 RIBA Royal Gold Medal quickly descended into the British-Iraqi architect fiercely defending her Qatar World Cup stadium against allegations of worker deaths and denying the spiralling costs of her proposed Tokyo Olympic stadium.

Hadid has been announced as the 2016 recipient of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal, making her the first female architect to be awarded considered one of the most prestigious accolades within the profession. However, a little taken back at the questions that the BBC asked, Dame Zaha Hadid said that there had not been a “single problem in the stadium in Qatar” in response to Sarah Montague’s questions regarding the alleged 1,200 migrant worker deaths at the Al-Wakrah stadium for the 2022 football Qatar World Cup.

Zaha responded “It is absolutely untrue; there are no deaths on our site whatsoever. I sued someone in the press for it. You should check your facts.”

Last week heard reports that Zaha had made the decision not to proceed with her bid to construct the Olympic stadium in Tokyo after the scrapping of her original design, which was met with public and professional protest over the £2bn construction costs.

“I didn’t pull out of the Japanese project,” Hadid corrected, “It’s a very serious story. It’s a scandal. We won this competition three years ago, it was an international competition entered by many Japanese architects and we won it.”

The interview ended abruptly when Zaha concluded “Don’t ask me a question if you don’t want me to answer. Let’s stop this conversation right now.”

The Qatari government say that the very serious allegations of 1,200 worker deaths since the country were announced as hosts of the next world cup are categorically untrue. Others argue that the deaths are directly linked to the current construction boom as a result of the pending World Cup, and therefore deaths on projects such as infrastructure and hotels should be included when monitoring world cup fatalities. Either way, Zaha confirmed there have been no deaths on her site.

Listen to the short but heated interview below: