November 9, 2017

Construction fatalities down but workplace stress levels on the rise

News Article

Work related stress is at its highest level in 16 years according to an annual report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Although the overall rates of occupational ill health have not changed dramatically across the UK, the proportion of people who reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety rose by 7 per cent last year, reaching a rate of 1610 per 100,000 workers.

Within the construction sector there is some good news as the number of fatal injuries has reduced by 30 per cent in the past year. The total number of fatal injuries to workers in the sector over the last five years stands at 196. Almost half of the fatal injury cases were caused by fall from a height. There were also four fatalities to members of the public involving construction work in 2016/17.

The HSE statistics shows that in 2016/17 there were:

  • 30 fatalities
  • 64,000 non-fatal injuries
  • 80,000 cases of workplace illness and of these:
  • 52,000 were musculoskeletal disorders (MSD)
  • 12,000 were cases of stress, depression or anxiety
  • 16,000 involved other illness such as skin or respiratory conditions

The figures, which were released on 1 November, are taken from the annual Labour Force Survey, produced by the Office of National Statistics.

It found that, overall, 526,000 people who had worked in the last 12 months had a work-related mental health condition, compared to 487,000 in 2015–16 and 442,000 in 2014–15.

Lara Murray, an Associate with Palmers who specialises in health and safety issues, said: “Whilst every construction fatality is one death too many, the significant reduction this year is to be cautiously welcomed.

“However, workplace related illness is still a significant cause for concern and illustrates the fact that employers have a duty of care to ensure both the physical and mental wellbeing of its workers. Looking after the health of your workers is a win-win as it also reduces the amount of lost days from work and increases employee retention and overall profitability.”

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