The number of accidents involving scaffolding contractors spiked in 2018, rising by 27% to 113 incidents during the year.
That’s according to the latest National Association of Scaffolding Contractors (NASC) safety report, which documents and analyses accident and injury statistics for its full contracting members in the previous calendar year.
There were no fatalities during 2018, making it a sixth consecutive year without any deaths in the industry.
However, the total of incidents for the period rose to 113, up from 89 in 2017. There were 22 major injuries in 2018, up from 17 in 2017, and 91 seven-day incidents, up from 72 in the previous year.
The rise was partly explained by an increased number of operatives in the industry, up to 16,758 in 2018, from 16,443 in 2017. However, the frequency rate of accidents (calculated by multiplying the number of reported accidents by 100,000 and then dividing by the average number of hours worked) also rose to 0.35, up from 0.28 in 2017 and 2016.
Nonetheless, more than 99% of all NASC member operatives went through 2018 accident and injury-free.
The NASC report showed that the most common cause of accident and injury was ‘slips, trips and falls on the same level’ – representing more than 43% of all accidents reported. There were 22 falls from height, up from 14 in 2017, and four falls of materials, down from 12 in 2017.
Des Moore, CEO of TRAD Group and NASC president, said: “The report shows that NASC members and their operatives continue to work incredibly safely at height.
“While it is slightly disappointing to see a slight year-on-year rise in the number of reported incidents, it is important to view this figure in context – taking into account the 16,000+ operatives who completed millions of working hours in 2018 without injury.
“Indeed, the annual incidence and frequency rates remain incredibly low, demonstrating how much value NASC full contracting members place on implementing and enforcing safe working standards on every project they undertake.
“However, there is always room for improvement. This is why the NASC will use the data collected to drive positive change – looking for ways to lead safety in our industry and help our members continually improve H&S standards on sites and in yards across the UK.
“We’re particularly keen to reduce slips and trips and will be working closely with clients and contractors to achieve this aim.”
Robin James, NASC managing director, added: “The NASC believes wholeheartedly in safety leadership, accountability and transparency, which is why it goes to such great lengths every year to collate, analyse and publish a detailed safety report to enable the NASC to focus on strategies and guidance to improve the scaffolding industry.
“It is only through this process that we are able to lead on safety through our ongoing collaboration with the Health & Safety Executive and other leading construction bodies, and the continued support and determination of NASC members, that our trade body can improve on its already excellent safety standards.”