Although construction is one of the biggest industries in the UK with a staggering 353,365 registered construction firms, it’s also the most dangerous.
As construction often involves working at height, working with deadly toxins and heavy machinery, it’s easy to see why 78,000 workers in the industry suffer from ill health and 59,000 work-related injuries were recorded in 2021/22, according to HSE statistics.
If you’re wondering why construction is so dangerous and what your employer should be doing to protect you, read on.
Why is construction one of the most dangerous jobs?
If you work in the industry, you might be shocked to discover that construction workers have the highest risk of death at work. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. It’s a large industry
Although the statistics might seem shocking (and they are), it’s worth looking at them in context. Construction is one of the largest industries in the UK, employing far more people than any other profession. So, it’s worth noting the economics of scale.
However, construction still has a disproportionate number of deaths.
2. It’s inherently dangerous
Unlike those who sit in an office all day, construction workers are exposed to a plethora of hazards each day. On a standard day, a typical construction worker will be working at heights, exposed to dust, working with dangerous equipment, and driving vehicles.
3. There are a large number of casual workers
Construction workers are often drawn to the industry due to its flexibility. Rather than being confined to a regular 9-5, construction workers can normally choose their hours.
This flexibility means workers are often seen as temporary or ‘casual’ employees. As such, many are self-employed which often means there is a lack of responsibility for workers.
For example, if a business has drafted in some extra labourers at short notice, training opportunities might be limited. So, the chances of an accident skyrocket.
What can your employer do to protect you?
Unfortunately, construction workers often head to work not knowing they’re risking life and limb.
Luckily there are a few things that employers can do to keep you safe. And it all starts with a culture of safety.
Your employer is required by law to adhere to relevant health and safety regulations. This means that they must provide the appropriate PPE, carry out thorough risk assessments, and provide regular training.
But even with all these measures in place, unfortunately, accidents happen. If you’ve had an accident at a construction site, you may be able to make a claim with a team of personal injury lawyers if your employer was at fault.
And if there’s just one thing to take away from this article it’s this: take extra care when you’re next onsite.