Spike in height safety breaches causes concern

The Building Safety Group (BSG) has reported an 84% increase in the number of ‘working at height’ breaches on UK construction sites during the first quarter of 2021.

The Building Safety Group (BSG) has reported an 84% increase in the number of ‘working at height’ breaches on UK construction sites during the first quarter of 2021.

The figures were obtained following 4,300 independent site inspections that took place across Great Britain between 1st January and 31st March 2021.

BGS said that its report was a cause for concern because working at height remained the biggest danger for construction workers.

Health & Safety Executive (HSE) statistics show that 47% of all construction accidents in were from falls from height in 2020 (Great Britain only). There were 40 fatal injuries in construction in 2019/20, slightly up on the five-year average of 37 per year. Of these fatalities, 29 were due to falls from height.

This year’s numbers could be much worse, judging by evidence collected by the BSG. From 4,300 site inspections during January to March 2021, it found breaches of height safety regulations to have increased by 84% over the first quarter of 2020.

“Working at height is clearly the most dangerous activity carried out in the construction sector,” said BSG technical support manager. “We can all do more to ensure that work is properly planned, supervised and conducted by qualified workers who have the required skills for the job in hand. Having the correct control measures in place and assessing the risk is also essential for avoiding accidents. In addition, companies should try to complete as much work as possible from the ground, ensure safe access and egress and importantly, make certain that any equipment used is suitable and designed for that purpose, installed and used by a competent person and inspected as required by the Working at Height Regulations 2005 and relevant guidance”.

The data comes from BSG’s Non-compliance Reporting Index (NCRI), a real-time reporting service that compiles health & safety non-compliance data on behalf of the construction industry through site inspections.

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