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Construction fatalities down as asbestos cancer deaths rise

28/07/2017 - 09:34AM

APS response to HSE Findings

On fatalities

“It is good news the number of people who died in construction fell last year but, at thirty deaths a year, working on a building site is still too dangerous. The numbers may represent more than two fatalities a month but the real story is the heartbreak they bring to many families. Cutting the number of lives lost on construction sites remains a key priority for the Association for Project Safety and we are determined to help members and clients work safely and well.”

On asbestos

“Dying from asbestos cancer because of working conditions years ago is a lingering tragedy and one the construction industry is pledged never to repeat. The Association for Project Safety is committed to ensuring no more construction workers are needlessly added to the list of fatalities from mesothelioma. The association is also committed to working with members and partners from across the industry to reduce the risks of contracting life-limiting illnesses at work while ensuring members have the skills and expertise to protect themselves and safeguard the health of others.”

HSE Information

Construction fatalities hit a record low, but stats show a rise in mesothelioma deaths

The Health and Safety Executive has revealed that the overall number of construction fatalities fell in 2016/17 but also highlighted that asbestos-related cancers were on the up.

Some encouraging news for our sector, as the number of construction fatalities seen in 2016/17 reaches a record low. The figures compiled by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that only 30 construction workers were killed during 2016/17 and that over the last 20 years there has been a downward trend in the number of fatal injuries sustained by work.

HSE Chair Martin Temple said:

Every fatality is a tragic event that should not happen. While we are encouraged by this improvement on the previous year, we continue unwaveringly on our mission to prevent injury, death and ill health by protecting people and reducing risks.”

Any decline is unquestionably good news, but notwithstanding this fact, the annual average rate in the sector is still significantly higher than in other industries. Furthermore, the drop in deaths was significantly less than predicted.

Asbestos - related cancer

The figures for mesothelioma were not as promising. Mesothelioma reportedly killed 2,542 people across Great Britain in 2015.  Comparatively, this number stood at 2,519 in 2014.

The cancer is caused by asbestos, and the data reflects the widespread exposure to the substance before 1980. It is forecast the number of annual deaths attributed to asbestos will start to reduce after 2020 but until then there is work to do.

Temple added: “We deal daily with the causes and consequences of work-related deaths, injuries and ill health. Today’s updated figures continue to inform our understanding of which areas we need to target.”

“We concentrate our interventions where we know we can have the biggest impact. We hold duty holders accountable for managing the risks they create in the workplace. This will benefit workers, business performance, the economy and wider society alike.”

Key findings 

The report, which covered other industries as well as the construction sector, found 92 members of the public were fatally injured in accidents connected to work—almost half of which occurred on railways.

Overall, older workers were found to be more at risk of fatal injury, with around a quarter of all incidents in 2016/17 involving workers over the age of 60. This group make up just 10 per cent of the workforce.

A more thorough assessment will be released on or after Wednesday 1 November 2017.


Source: APS