Working at height: an occupational hazard or a preventable risk?
Analysis by the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) has identified that falls from heights continues to be the most common type of fatal injury in the construction sector. In 2013/2014 it accounted for 50% of all fatalities, causing 21 deaths. By its very nature working at height is inherently risky, so should we be surprised by these statistics?
Yes according to UCATT’s general secretary Steve Murphy who commented that construction injuries and deaths should not be a potential occupational hazard as most of them can be prevented. That is why it is alarming to see that the number of fatalities has risen during the analysed period, he said.
Overall the rate of fatalities per 100,000 workers for 2013/2014 stood at 1.98, marking an increase of 0.04 when compared with the 2012/2013 period. The North West saw the most significant increase in fatalities. The number of deaths in the region went from two to five. In the East Midlands, three workers lost their lives in occupational incidents, while in 2012/2013 no such fatalities occurred.
Murphy calls for employers risking the safety of their workers to be identified and then prosecuted. Otherwise, it is likely that the number of fatalities will increase, he added.