Accidents In The Construction Sector


Every year many construction site workers are killed or injured as a result of their work and many others suffer ill health.  The key to achieving healthy and safe working conditions is to ensure that health and safety issues are planned, organised, controlled, monitored and reviewed on a regular basis. This applies to every contractor that attends the construction site. Meticulous planning helps lessen the chances of work related accidents.

The most frequent causes of accidental death and injury are:


  1. Falls: People fall because access to and from the workplace is not adequate, or the workplace itself is not safe. The importance of providing good access to a safe working position (e.g. a platform with toe boards and guard rails) cannot be over-emphasised.
  2. Mobile plant: Construction plant can be heavy. It often operates on ground which is muddy and uneven, and where driver visibility is poor. People walking on site are injured or killed by moving vehicles, especially reversing ones. Others, particularly drivers and operators, are killed or injured by overturning vehicles and plant.
  3. Falling material and collapses: People are struck by material falling from loads being lifted and material that rolls or is kicked off work platforms; others are struck or buried by falling materials when excavations, buildings or structures collapse. Structural collapses can range from walls, which fall because their foundations are undermined by nearby excavations, to buildings, which collapse during alteration works because the structure was weakened and/or overloaded. Structures can also collapse unexpectedly during demolition if action is not taken to prevent instability. Scaffolds collapse because ties are either forgotten or removed too early during striking, or the scaffold is overloaded. Structures under construction may also collapse, e.g. steel frames that have not been adequately braced, or formwork that is prematurely loaded.
  4. Electrical accidents: People suffer electric shock and burns when they use unsafe equipment and when they contact overhead power lines and buried cables.
  5. Trips: Trips are the most common cause of reported injuries on construction sites, with over 1000 major injuries each year. Most of these can be easily avoided by effective management of access routes such as corridors, stairwells and footpaths.

The construction industry has a poor health record. Construction workers are likely to suffer ill health as a result of their work in the industry after exposure to both harsh working conditions and hazardous substances. Ill health can result from:


  1. Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos can cause serious respiratory diseases such as asbestosis and cancer.
  2. Manual handling: Lifting heavy and awkward loads causes back and other injuries. Some injuries can result from a single lift, but more commonly, long-term injury develops as a result of repeated minor injury due to repetitive lifting.
  3. Noise and vibration: High levels of noise can cause hearing loss and repeated use of vibrating tools can cause hand-arm vibration syndrome (damage to nerves and blood vessels – most commonly in the hands and fingers).
  4. Chemicals: Exposure to materials such as cement and solvents can cause skin problems such as dermatitis.

Article from HSE Third addition, published 2006


If you have had an accident at work that wasn’t your fault, call one of our personal injury lawyers today for a no obligation chat regarding your no win no fee personal injury claim.


HSE 2020

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