The construction industry has been under close speculation over the past 10 years, more so than any other industry, due to the high number of workplace fatalities and serious injuries. But has this close watch and the ever tightening reigns on regulations had any effect on the construction fatalities?

The latest figures released by the HSE for 2011/2012 show 49 people were killed within this period, the statistics falling only by 1 from 2010/2011, although this is a vast improvement on the figures ten years previous, with 105 workplace deaths within the construction industry in 2000/2001.

There are vast signs of improvement for the number of workplace deaths, however the construction industry still holds the highest number of deaths above all other sectors; with 33 deaths in agricultural and only 5 in the waste industry (2012).

It is the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) who govern the legislation to prevent work place injuries and fatalities, and they have worked hard over the past 10 years to bring down the numbers within construction.

One piece of legislation that has had a massive impact on the way health and safety is carried out on construction projects is the revision to the Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2007. The original CDM regulations were introduced in 1994, however were revised in 2007 to ‘make it easier for those involved with construction projects to comply with their health and safety duties.’ – cdm-regulations-uk

The HSE stresses that the regulations were brought in; not to create more paperwork but to place emphasis on management and planning to help reduce the number of fatalities and serious workplace injuries within construction.

Under the revised Regulations the responsibilities are now placed on all those who are involved with the planning and implementation of the construction project. Mainly; duties are placed on the client, the designers and contractors, with more authority given to the CDM coordinator. It is hoped by placing more responsibility and liability on each of these roles that each will conform to the safety standard, to avoid the serious penalties, and thus reducing the number of work place deaths.

The HSE hopes to continue to bring the number of fatalities down within the construction industry over the next few years, by policing projects in accordance with the CDM Regulations, penalizing those who are not complying and rewarding those who are.

This has meant a complete overhaul in the way many companies carry out their projects and site work. CDM management is becoming an industry norm, rather than considered additional paperwork.

Companies are now adding CDM management in to the running of their day-to-day business, ‘our machinery installation and plant and equipment removal services vary from a single plant installation or 1 day lifting programme through to a complete CDM managed industrial site relocation.’ –  

It’s fair to say, safety within the construction industry has improved drastically over the past ten years; however the number of deaths within the industry is still not acceptable, especially in comparison with alternative sectors. In the future the HSE, clients, designers, contractors and CDM coordinators are going to have to work together to help reduce these numbers to zero.

About the Author:

Michael Carr can be found at