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Non-fatal building site injuries fall by 15 per cent

Early Riddor data for April to December 2009 shows the rate of non-fatal injuries was down 15.4 per cent year on year, while major injuries fell by 19.2 per cent.

It is the second year running the number of reported construction-related injuries per 100,000 workers has fallen.

The rates paint a positive picture for the industry, which lobbyists recently claimed was only achieving lower deaths and injuries because of a drop in activity.

The actual numbers of major injuries over the nine months fell 25.3 per cent year on year to 1,925, while non-fatal injuries dropped 21.7 per cent to 6,069.

In the second quarter of the year, the number of non-fatal injuries dropped to 1,992 - the first time on record the quarterly figure has fallen below 2,000.

Recent figures also showed construction fatalities for the full year to April 2010 were expected to have fallen for the third year in a row, to what is thought to be the lowest level on record.

According to rolling fatality data published by the Health and Safety Executive, there were 35 construction-related deaths in the 12 months to April.

However, the figures are yet to be finalised and some sources suggest the actual total could be more like 40. Either way, this would be a significant drop on the 53 deaths in

An HSE spokeswoman said the regulator was unable to comment until the official figures are released on 30 June.

Ucatt general secretary Alan Ritchie said: “These figures are welcome, but we need to bear in mind continuing issues such as the under-reporting of accidents in construction.”

Under-reporting was an issue raised by construction deaths inquiry chair Rita Donaghy last year, who told H&V News it was “nothing short of a scandal”.

Research by the University of Liverpool for the HSE three years ago found as few as 30 per cent of reportable accidents were reported to the regulator.

But Costain group safety, health and environment director Peter Fisher recently said he believed there had been a sustained improvement in safety, caused by “numerous drivers”, including greater engagement with the workforce, zero tolerance for health and safety breaches and strong leadership from boards.