Inquiry into construction deaths

Construction Related Death


An inquiry has been commissioned into the underlying causes of construction related deaths, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced.

DWP secretary of state James Purnell, who appointed Rita Donaghy as independent Chair to the inquiry, said that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous sectors in the country.

Figures show that more than 2,800 people have died from injuries relating to construction work in the past 25 years.

Mr Purnell added that he was concerned by the high number of fatalities in the construction sector and therefore commissioned the inquiry.

Rita Donaghy said she was keen to start and work with the trade unions, the industry and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to see what lessons could be learned from the causes of construction accidents.

She added that she hoped the inquiry would lead to improvements in the health and safety of construction workers.

The inquiry will be undertaken in three phases, with a review of existing work to be conducted, followed by an analysis of underlying causes and then reporting to ministers and the HSE's Board on the findings.

Copyright © Press Association 2008

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "I welcome the inquiry commissioned by the secretary for state into the causes of fatal accidents at work.

"The construction industry has the highest level of fatalities following a work accident. The numbers are both alarming and shameful.

"I would also call for increased funding for the HSE who, with an increased budget, could visit more construction sites and prevent accidents BEFORE they occur.

"I represent many workers injured or killed in construction industry work accidents, and see the misery such accidents cause."