Unite, the construction union, has called for employers to start taking workers’ safety seriously, in response to a survey published today (Thursday 22 November) by Direct Line for Business which found that there were 196 fatal accidents and 26,196 non-fatal accidents in the construction industry in the last five years (2012-2017).

The survey found that the most common form of injury was slips, trips and falls, accounting for 28 per cent of the total number of accidents.

Prosecutions down

The survey also found that the number of prosecutions being taken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in construction has substantially declined. There were 246 cases taken in 2015/16 and just 206 in 2016/17, a fall of 16 per cent.

Employers playing fast and loose with safety

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, said: “Each and every one of these accidents will have a profound effect on the worker involved. With regards to the large number of tragic fatal accidents; families will have been left devastated when a loved one went to work one day and never came home again.

“What this research demonstrates is that far too many employers are playing fast and loose with safety laws, resulting in workers being needlessly injured at work.

“The sharp decrease in HSE prosecutions is deeply troubling. The best deterrent against unscrupulous employers cutting safety is the fear that they will be caught and prosecuted.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.