Fatalities in construction at risk of increasing

Deaths and injuries on UK building sites could increase as the industry comes out of the downturn, Heather Bryant, the Heath and Safety Executive’s chief inspector of construction has warned.

In an interview with Construction News held after a worker was killed on a Mayfair residential conversion site last week, she admitted there was “definitely a risk that injuries and fatalities will increase” as workloads rise.

She added “fatalities usually fall during a recession and then increase again as the volume of work on site picks up and the industry’s workforce expands”.

Ms Bryant also acknowledged there was “pressure to build, build, build” and warned that “contractors need to be careful about who they bring into the industry” to fill the skills gap.

“What we want to make sure, and it’s still early days, is that we don’t let history repeat itself and we do not see that rise.”

Figures on the number of construction worker fatalities in the year to April 2014 will not be released by the HSE until July, but they are expected to be “broadly similar” to the 39 fatalities in 2012/13.