‘Huge concern’ over rise in construction deaths

Construction deaths

Deaths in construction have risen with a worker dying almost every week.

Last year, 51 people died at work in construction compared with 47 the previous year, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures reveal. These deaths were recorded across England, Wales, and Scotland.

The average number of deaths in construction over a five-year period was 42.

This continues with an upward trend in deaths last year.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) head of policy and public affairs Ruth Wilkinson said the rise was “significantly higher” than pre-pandemic levels. She added that “lessons aren’t being learned” and “much more still needs to be done to protect workers”.

Across the total workforce, 138 deaths were recorded, an increase of three from the previous year.

A total of 87 members of the public also died due to workplace incidents, a rise of 14 compared with 2022.

The most common types of fatal accident recorded were: falls from height (50 deaths); struck by a moving vehicle (25); struck by a moving object (20); trapped by something collapsed or overturned (15); and contact with moving machinery (8).

‘Huge concern’

Wilkinson added: “This is a huge concern, and we need to see action taken to tackle this. Whichever party forms the new government must seek to protect and enhance health and safety standards, particularly across high-risk industries like construction.

“And businesses need to step up and ensure they have robust occupational health and safety management systems and control strategies in place to prevent accidents at work and reduce the chance of them happening.

“Providing a safe and healthy working environment isn’t just an add-on for a business. It is now a fundamental principle and right at work, as recognised by the International Labour Organization. So, we need to see a joined-up approach to tackle harm at work to prevent more lives being needlessly lost.”

While construction was responsible for the highest number of deaths, it did not record the highest number of fatalities as a percentage of the workforce population.

The highest number of deaths per 100,000 of the workforce was 7.51 in agriculture, forestry, and fishing, followed by waste and recycling at 3.88. The figure for construction was 2.43.


A third of fatalities were self-employed workers: 41% in construction; 65% in agriculture, forestry, and fishing; and 12% in manufacturing.

Most people killed were male, 95%. There were 89 fatal injuries to workers aged 16-59 and 45 deaths of workers aged 60 and over, despite this latter group making up only 11% of the workforce.

The deaths recorded in these statistics are those reported under Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

These figures do not include work-related deaths on the roads, work-related suicide, or deaths caused by diseases brought about by exposures at work.

However, the HSE does publish separate figures on some deaths caused by work-related diseases such as mesothelioma.

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