13 Construction Injury Statistics in the UK (Updated In 2023)
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
The construction industry has long been the most dangerous to work in. The nature of the work, and especially of construction sites, means that there are naturally more hazards than in any other industry. As a result, there are tens of thousands of work-related injuries every year, dozens of which result in fatality. There is also a very high number of work-related health issues in the industry.
Despite considerable health and safety awareness campaigns attempting to tackle the problem, falls from heights remain the most common type of accident in the industry. Other accident types include being stuck or crushed by falling or moving objects, slips and trips, and being struck by moving objects.
Below are 13 UK construction injury statistics, including data on the most common types of accidents and the cost of injuries suffered each year.
The 13 Construction Injury Statistics in the UK
- 2.2 million people work in the UK’s construction industry.
- 99% of on-site construction workers are male.
- The industry is worth £110 billion per annum.
- 64,000 construction workers suffer non-fatal injuries every year.
- The majority of injuries are muscular-skeletal injuries.
- Falling from heights is the most common type of accident in the construction industry.
- Men are 7 times more likely to suffer a construction injury than women.
- Work-related injuries and ill-health cost the construction industry £1.2 billion per annum.
- 123 people were killed in work-related accidents, across all industries, in 2021.
- There were 30 work-related deaths in the construction industry in 2021.
- The construction industry is the most dangerous industry in the UK.
- There are 1.6 deaths per 100,000 workers.
- Fatal accidents have risen by 10% in the past 5 years.
1. 2.2 million People Work in The UK’s Construction Industry.
The construction industry is one of the largest industries in the UK with a total of 2.2 million people working in a variety of roles. As well as on-site workers, the construction industry also includes administrative roles, managerial roles, and a host of other positions. Primarily, though, it is on-site workers that are most likely to suffer injuries and ill health.
2. 99% Of On-Site Construction Workers Are Male.
The industry remains a highly male-dominated industry with 99% of those working on-site being male. Across the whole industry, including all roles, 89% are male. The industry has one of the largest gender pay gaps of any industry with women earning 38% less than their male counterparts.
3. The Industry Is Worth £110 Billion Per Annum.
The industry has an output value of £110 billion per annum, which means that it contributes 7% of the nation’s GDP. Around 75% of the industry is in the private sector with the remaining quarter being in the public sector. Including manufacturing, the employee numbers account for around 10% of the UK’s total workforce.
4. 64,000 Construction Workers Suffer Non-Fatal Injuries Every Year.
Of the 2.2 million workers in the industry, approximately 64,000 suffer non-fatal injuries per annum. Non-fatal injuries can range from sprains and bruises to lacerations and fractures. Although some require time off work, many employees continue to work after the injury.
5. The Majority of Injuries Are Musculoskeletal Injuries.
Over half, or 57%, of all construction injuries are musculoskeletal injuries. Musculoskeletal injuries are any injuries that affect the muscles, bones, nerves, ligaments, or tendons. This equates to 2% of the total construction workforce and is approximately double that of the average for the country’s entire workforce.
6. Falling from Heights Is the Most Common Type of Accident in the Construction Industry.
(Pro Builder Mag)
There are a lot of potential hazards on construction sites. Construction sites usually incorporate machinery and vehicles, as well as tools. Rough and potentially slippery terrain, as well as falling objects, are some other hazards. However, falling from heights is the single biggest type of construction injury. This injury accounts for 47% of fatal injuries and is the most common cause of non-fatal injuries, too. This is despite the UK government and Health & Safety Executive launching multiple awareness campaigns to try and improve safety when working at heights.
7. Men Are 7 Times More Likely to Suffer a Construction Injury Than Women.
(Pro Builder Mag)
Men are considerably more likely to suffer construction injuries than women, and not just because there are so many more men on construction sites. There are 395 injuries per 100,000 male workers compared to 52 per 100,000 female employees. This means that male workers are seven times more likely to be injured in a construction accident than female workers.
(Pro Builder Mag)
Injuries can be a major problem for the individuals that suffer them, as they can be unable to work for a considerable amount of time as they recover and rehabilitate. Such injuries can also cost the company, reducing the workforce and costing in late completion and other problems. In total, injuries and ill health are said to cost the industry £1.2 billion per annum. It is in the interest of employers and employees to reduce work-related injuries and accidents.
9. 123 People Were Killed in Work-Related Accidents, Across All Industries, In 2021.
Unfortunately, construction injuries are the most likely to result in fatalities. In 2021, there were 123 people killed in work-related accidents in the whole country and all sectors and industries.
10. There Were 30 Work-Related Deaths in The Construction Industry In 2021.
Of those 123 deaths, 30 of them occurred in the construction industry alone. That’s equivalent to nearly a quarter of all workplace fatalities.
11. The Construction Industry Is the Most Dangerous Industry in the UK.
The construction industry is the industry with the highest fatality tally of all industries. Construction’s 30 fatalities compare to 22 fatalities within the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry. The manufacturing industry also saw 22 fatalities. Other industries that suffered fatalities between April 2021 and April 2022 were transport and storage (16), admin and support services (12), wholesale, retail, motor repair (11), accommodation and food (11), and waste and recycling (1).
12. There Are 1.6 Deaths Per 100,000 Workers.
(Pro Builder Mag)
For every 100,000 people that work within the construction industry, including those in administrative and office-based roles, there are 1.6 fatalities. This is four times the overall average for the major industries and twice that of transportation storage as well as being 2.5 times the figure for the manufacturing sector.
13. Fatal Accidents Have Risen 10% In the Past 5 Years.
(Pro Builder Mag)
The industry has launched several high-profile awareness and health and safety campaigns in recent years, to try and curb the number of injuries and fatalities that occur. In particular, there have been campaigns to try and raise awareness of the dangers of working at heights. Despite these campaigns, the number of fatal accidents within the construction industry has risen by 10% in the past 5 years.
Frequently Asked Questions About Construction Injury Statistics in the UK
What are the most common construction injuries?
Construction sites do pose a lot of potential dangers to workers. The most common types of injuries are broken bones and back and spinal cord injuries. These types of injuries often occur following slips, trips, and falls, and are common following crushing and other types of accidents. They also commonly require some time off work and may lead to a long-term negative impact on the individual.
What are the most common causes of injuries?
Many hazards exist on the construction site, and while a lot of site owners do take care to ensure that their workers are safe, accidents still occur. Despite ongoing campaigns to raise awareness of the potential dangers of working at height, falls from height remain the most common cause of injury. Falls from scaffolding and ladders, as well as roofs and chimneys can be extremely dangerous and may lead to fatal injuries as well as less serious injuries.
Accidents involving machinery and vehicles are also commonplace, with slips and trips being another common cause of accidents. (English Lloyd)
How can you prevent construction injuries?
Prevention starts with construction site owners and construction companies. They should conduct thorough and regular health and safety risk assessments, which identify and mitigate potential accidents. Protective equipment should be provided, and training should be given for the use of any tools and hardware. Workers should follow all health and safety guidelines and ensure that they undertake the proper training.
It is also down to the individual to highlight any health and safety risks and any areas where there are potential hazards that might have been overlooked.
What should you do if you suffer a construction injury?
The priority after any accident should be to ensure everybody’s health and safety. If you suffer an injury and are able to do so, inform a manager or health and safety representative. Fill in any accident book or log, and immediately seek medical advice. Visit a GP and follow their guidance on what steps to take next. Do make sure that you attend any follow-up appointments and any specialist appointments.
If you are unable to work as a result of your injury, ensure that the doctor provides a note, and if the accident wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation.
Workplace accidents cause billions of pounds of loss every year and the construction industry is the one with the larger number of incidents and the highest number of casualties and fatalities. Injuries can range in severity and type, but falls from height are the most common, with musculoskeletal injuries being the most likely injury. Men are more likely to be injured than women, but injuries and fatalities can be suffered by people of all ages and genders.
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