Union voices concern over rise in construction injuries

NEW figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showing a rise in construction injuries and a fall in prosecutions is a ‘dangerous cocktail’, according to construction union Unite.

The HSE figures shows that the number of non-fatal injuries per 100,000 workers rose from 359 in 2017/18 to 366 in 2018/19. During this timeframe, there was a 22% decrease in the number of construction prosecutions undertaken by the HSE – falling from 202 in 2017/18 to just 158 in 2018/19.

Unite national officer Jerry Swain said, “These figures are deeply worrying. While of course we welcome that the number of deaths has decreased, this has to be tempered with the fact that construction injuries have gone up. The increase in injuries is likely to in part be a result of employers failing to comply with safety laws.

“This is a dangerous cocktail and it will likely to result in a greater number of workers being injured and possibly killed unless urgent action is taken to reverse this trend. Too many employers in construction remain prepared to ignore safety laws, to boost profits, as they believe that they won’t be caught. These figures show the importance of having a strong, active and interventionist HSE.”