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Construction Deaths in the UK Expected to Rise For 2014

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries 

A poll from construction union Ucatt has revealed that more than half of construction workers in the UK are concerned that there has been no improvement in health and safety,

The damning results come as workers believe that there has been no effort in the last year to improve on health and safety issues resulting in more accidents in the workplace. Furthermore the poll found that 21% of workers believed their boss did not take health and safety seriously. 

Rise in Deaths

The damning poll from the union comes prior to an expected rise in the number of deaths and accidents on construction sites. According to home builders Berkeley Homes, number of serious injuries and deaths will have risen in 2014 from the previous year. 

There were 42 deaths on British building sites in 2013, with 5,000 seriously injured.

Despite the figures for 2014 from the Health and Safety Executive not expected until May, managing director of the Berkeley Group, Rob Perrins believes that the rush to build houses, and companies working to their limit, will mean that the number of accidents and deaths will have increased. He said:

“The sheer volume of work going on is testing the industry, with companies and staff running flat out to gear up production and tackle the housing crisis.

“The industry is having to work with less experienced people, in multiple languages, with equipment in high demand. That generates fresh hazards in a business that is inherently risky.”

Workers Need to Get Involved

A Ucatt spokesman stated that it was imperative to get workers thinking about their own safety at all times in the workplace, and hold those who were using unsafe construction sites to account. The spokesman said:

“Put simply, people are afraid to speak out. 

“Given the short-term nature of many contracts, workers are concerned to even put their heads above the parapet with safety concerns, very few have an economy of rights. 

“This is an industry where those who do are often blacklisted and not employed again.

“Any drive to encourage them to feel as though their opinions could be considered and acted upon can only lead to a more healthy long-term working environment.”

In late 2014, the government announced a string of changes to the way health and safety would be monitored in 2015. The changes will look to remove bureaucracy in reporting and maintaining health and safety, as well as increase the fines that companies could receive for breaching health and safety laws. Under current legislation, the largest fine is around £500,000, however the latest proposals could see this rise to over £2 million. 

Boom in Construction

The worrying statistic from the Berkeley report comes following a predicted boom in construction jobs with over 400,000 jobs to be created by 2019.

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