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Action needed to prevent deaths

An increase of 28% in the number of construction industry deaths has sparked calls for the industry and the Government to act fast to ensure safety standards are met.

Action needed to prevent deaths

According to figures released this week, the industry recorded 77 fatalities in 2006/07, compared with 60 in the previous year, the highest for five years. This meant the death rate rose from 3 to 3.7 per 1000.

In total there were 241 deaths in the workplace across all sectors in 2006/07, meaning construction accounted for almost a third of all workplace fatalities.

In particular the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has urged the industry and the Government to put health and safety at the top of the agendas to ensure these figures reduce rather than continue to increase.

John Lacey, chair of the IOSH Construction Specialist Group, said: “This increase is absolutely appalling. It is essential that a health and safety culture is adopted in all sections of the construction industry, and more effort made to eliminate unsafe working practices.

“I’m particularly concerned that it’s the same old causes that are killing people. Falls from height are still the biggest killer, but being struck by a moving or falling object has claimed 19 lives this year and that’s a real worry.”

His recommendation was for company representatives at board level to take professional advice about health and safety, implement safe working practices and ensure staff are fully trained.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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