The construction industry is statistically one of the most dangerous sectors to work in, consistently accounting for the majority of workplace injuries that happen year-on-year In the UK. If you have suffered an injury or illness as a result of working on a construction site then you may be entitled to claim compensation.
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Why are Construction Sites so Dangerous?
There are a number of reasons why construction sites are especially dangerous places to work. The environment itself can pose a significant hazard, with weather conditions, terrain and other elements having an impact as well as the potential presence of hazardous substances such as asbestos.
By their very nature, construction sites are constantly changing with a lot of different tradespeople carrying out different work in the same space, each presenting its own dangers. There could be potential trip hazards around every corner, such as building materials, tools and cables, as well as large vehicles and dangerous machinery in constant operation.
Common Construction Accidents
According to data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) there are 64,000 non-fatal injuries to construction workers each year, and a staggering 80,000 construction workers are suffering from work-related illness. In 2016-17 there were 30 fatalities on construction sites in the UK.
The main cause of fatal injuries on construction sites is workers falling from a height (this accounted for almost half of all construction fatalities between 2011 and 2017). The other most common fatal accidents include workers being trapped by something as it collapses or overturns and workers being struck by a moving vehicle.
Of the thousands of non-fatal accidents that are reported on construction sites each year, the most common causes of these, in order, are:
- Slip, trip or fall accidents
- Manual handling, lifting or carrying
- Falls from height
- Being struck by a moving object (such as something falling or flying)
Common Construction Illnesses
As well as the visible risks and hazards that are present on construction sites, there are also less obvious hazards that can contribute to illnesses. As a result, construction workers are at a statistically higher risk of developing certain diseases than those working in other industries.
Data from the HSE reveals that between 2014 and 2017 the most common illness type to affect construction workers was musculoskeletal disorder, which is likely to be because of the physically intensive nature of the work. Manual handling is cited as the most common cause of injuries lasting more than 7 days and musculoskeletal disorder accounted for 65% of all work-related illnesses reported in the construction industry from 2014 to 2017.
Mental health conditions such as stress, depression or anxiety also account for a significant proportion of work-related illness in the construction sector.
Other increased health risks for construction workers include:
- Cancer – the construction sector accounts for more than 40% of occupational cancer deaths and registrations, amounting to an estimated 3,700 deaths per year. This is because of exposure to substances such as asbestos, silica, paint fumes and diesel exhausts.
- Respiratory problems and lung disease – construction workers are often exposed to potentially harmful substances which can cause significant damage when inhaled over a long period of time. The inhalation of dust as well as fumes or vapour from chemicals, paint and other substances can result in long-term health issues for construction workers.
Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015
With the fatality rate in the construction sector currently around 4 times higher than the average workplace fatality rate, it's important for everyone to be aware of the risks that are present on construction sites.
There are specific health and safety regulations that must be adhered to on construction sites called the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. These regulations set out the responsibilities of all those in the construction sector to protect workers from harm.
Everyone involved in construction has legal duties that they should adhere to under these Regulations, including employers, contractors, designers and workers.
What to Do if You Suffer Injury or Illness on a Construction Site
If you are injured or develop an illness as a result of working on a construction site, then you could have a Personal Injury Claim for compensation.
At Co-op Legal Services, our Personal Injury Solicitors specialise in Construction Accident Claims and Industrial Disease Claims. We can assess your claim for free to help you understand whether your claim has a reasonable chance of success. We can deal with most Accident at Work Claims on a no win no fee basis.