Construction Site Accidents

The construction sector accounts for approximately 6% of the UK workforce. The incidence rate of all self-reported workplace injuries is around 50% higher than all other industries. Though the past couple of decades has seen a downward trend in the rate of workplace injuries in the constructor sector, the figures show that the risk is still quite unsurprisingly high in comparison to other occupations.

Approximately 3% of construction workers sustain an injury at work – around 65,000 construction site workers reporting non-fatal workplace injuries. This accounts for about half a million working days lost annually.

For the purpose of this Top 5 Most Common Construction Site Accidents article, we are listing the Top 5 as “specified injuries” (or major injuries) defined by RIDDOR. Within the report, the construction sector comprises three broad industry groups:

  • construction of buildings
  • civil engineering
  • specialised construction activities

1) Falls from a height

35% of specified injuries

Ladders and scaffolding walkways obviously pose great risk to workers. Sometimes things just come loose or simply were incorrectly secured to begin with.

2) Slips, trips or falls on same level

27% of specified injuries

There are a great many tripping hazards on a construction site. From cables to rubble to holes in the ground.

3) Struck by moving, including flying/falling, object

12% of specified injuries

Similar to the risks of workers falling from heights, objects can too. And when an object falls or is dropped from above, it can happen so fast that it’s not always possible to move or even recognise the danger before it occurs. Though hard hats should always be worn on the construction site to protect your head, other serious injuries could include cuts, bruises, and crushes to other parts of the body.

4) Injured while handling, lifting or carrying

8% of specified injuries

All workers should be shown how to safely and properly lift heavy objects and carry them from one place to another. Incorrect handling of heavy objects can cause fractures and serious lower back pain over time.

5) Struck by moving vehicle

3% of specified injuries

Vehicles or mobile plant on the construction site should operate safely using specified routes and organised traffic management on site, to prevent serious injuries and fatalities.

Specified Injuries VS Over 7 Day Injuries

In accordance to RIDDOR, specified injuries can be defined as:

  • fractures, other than to fingers, thumbs and toes
  • amputations
  • any injury likely to lead to permanent loss of sight or reduction in sight
  • any crush injury to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs
  • serious burns (including scalding) which:
    • covers more than 10% of the body
    • causes significant damage to the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs
  • any scalping requiring hospital treatment
  • any loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia
  • any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space which:
    • leads to hypothermia or heat-induced illness
    • requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours

Over-seven-day injuries are ones in which the worker is incapacitated and unable to perform their usual work duties for more than consecutive days as a result of their injury.

Top 5 Most Common Over-7-Day Injuries in Construction

  1. Injured while handling, lifting or carrying (29%)
  2. Slips, trips or falls on same level (21%)
  3. Falls from a height (11%)
  4. Struck by moving, including flying/falling, object (10%)
  5. Contact with moving machinery (7%)

Top 5 Fatal Injuries in Construction for the Last 5 Years

Over the past five years, there have been 217 fatal injuries in the construction sector. Almost half of all fatal injuries are caused by falls from height. The fatal injury rate is over 3.5 times the average rate across all industries.

  1. Falls from a height (45%)
  2. Trapped by something collapsing/overturning (13%)
  3. Struck by moving, including flying/falling, object (10%)
  4. Struck by moving vehicle (10%)
  5. Contact with electricity or electrical discharge (7%)

What risks do construction workers perceive to be most present?

In a 2014 survey commissioned by the European Union Occupational Safety and Health Agency in collaboration with HSE, participants (representing workplaces in the construction sector with 5 or more employees) were asked:

Which of the following risk factors are present in your establishment?

Construction Sector Risk Factors
Physical risks are far more widely reported than psychosocial risks in the construction industry and, interestingly, this is also reflected in the lower than average levels of workplace stress, depression and anxiety when compared to other sectors.

Employers working within the construction industry have a legal responsibility to their workers to ensure a reasonably safe working environment. Work related injuries across all industries are the responsibility of the employer, and you could be held liable. Employers Liability Insurance is a legal requirement, to ensure that all employees can receive compensation if they become injured whilst working for you. If you’re worried about being held liable for trespassers or visitors injuring themselves on site, Building Site Insurance can protect you should the third party demand compensation for their injury.

Ask Us A Question