Building Site Accidents in London

Construction Accident Claims in London

There is no doubt that building sites represent one of the more dangerous types of workplace in London. Construction is an unforgiving business from a health and safety perspective, especially when compared to most typical capital occupations.

The hazards are obvious: outdoor work in bad weather, completing dangerous tasks at high heights or in confined spaces, jobs that place a premium on force and endurance, working with vehicles and unpredictable heavy equipment. These are all things that carry risks.

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Longer term, exposure to toxic chemicals and industrial diseases may also carry serious health risks. It stands to reason then that construction jobs score highly on any lists of workplace accidents and fatalities.

However, if you have suffered a recent building site accident, either as an employee, a contractor or a site visitor and the incident was someone else’s fault, you could qualify to make a personal injury claim.

A financial award, of the kind you might win in a successful claim, can’t necessarily restore your life to its previous standing but it can put a monetary value on the physical, financial and emotional losses you have suffered, while helping you cover the costs of your ongoing recuperation.

All construction industry employers are legally required to take special measures to protect all workers and visitors on and around their sites. Sub-contractors, visitors and delivery drivers – and anyone else who visits their building sites, can all be eligible to make a personal injury claim when someone else is liable for their injuries and suffering.

Although construction accounts for just 1 in 20  employees within the total UK workforce (5%), British building sites are accountable for over a quarter (27%) of all deaths at work in this country.

Looking at occupational health research in the UK today there is one statistic that really stands out: 10 per cent of reported serious workplace injuries occur on building sites, according to The Health and Safety Executive, the government’s data collector.

There were 39 deaths on building sites in the last calendar year according to The HSE. This compares favourably with an average of 53 annual deaths over each of the previous five years. The fact that these numbers are decreasing should be acknowledged of course. It is a step in the right direction. However there is no sense that building sites have suddenly become a safe place for employees.

There were an estimated 1.4 million work days lost in the UK construction industry in 2011/12. Of those, 818,000 lost days resulted from ill health and over half a million – 584,000 – were directly due to building site accidents – safety is improving though.

The latest information for the London area shows a downward trend in both work-related ill health and workplace injury.

  • Injuries: In 2012/13, there were 8,889 reported injuries to all employees in London, 11% of the overall GB total. (RIDDOR).
  • Injury rates: In 2012/13, the total rate of reported injury in London’s workforce was 242.7 per 100,000 employees, compared with a Great Britain average of 312.0 (RIDDOR).
  • Enforcement: In 2012/13, HSE’s London inspectors issued 1,107 notices and prosecuted 44 cases, 43 of which led to a conviction (98%).
  • Ill Health: In 2011/12 in London, 120,000 workers suffered from work-related illness at a rate of 2,920 per 100,000 people working over the past 12 months (LFS).
  • Working days lost: In 2011/12, 2.4 million working days were lost in London due to workplace injury and ill health. That equates to 0.7 days off work per worker each year (LFS).

These local figures clearly underline the need for all construction industry employers in London to take their Health and Safety obligations seriously – regardless of any positives to be taken from them.

As well as the more general workplace safety requirements, construction site employers must also:

  • Supervise building sites to maintain safe access and exits. The site should be furnished with clear, well sign-posted boundaries.
  • Employ effective security to prevent unauthorised access to sites.
  • Manage all on-site traffic and traffic within the site’s periphery to ensure that safety remains paramount at all times on-site.
  • Maintain building-site health and safety. On every site, all areas and all their fixtures and fittings must be maintained in good order.
  • Management must ensure effective management and disposal of all hazardous substances and chemicals used on the site.
  • Site managers must dispose of all construction site and employee-generated waste safely and securely.
  • Managers should provide safe, working on-site facilities such as toilets and drinking water to conform to the current HSE regulations.

Employers must commit to the required program of risk assessments, inspection reports and notices as part of their obligations.

While accidents on a building site may be the responsibility of the site owners or managers, other individuals may be liable to pay you compensation if you make a successful claim. The list could include, for example:

  • A contractor responsible for specific on-site equipment and machinery that has been hired for use on the site.
  • Your own employer if you are employed on site as a sub-contractor.
  • Any company responsible for injuring you in the act of working with you or delivering materials to the worksite.
  • A supplier of any malfunctioning or substandard materials or equipment that causes you injury through its use.

Here at Friends Legal Limited we are highly experienced in dealing with building site accidents. We understand and we can expertly evaluate the legacy that construction accidents leave behind for everyone involved.

We have built up our experience of construction site injury claims over thousands of successful cases and happy clients. We have been resolving their cases with us since 2002.

Every year we help and continue to help construction industry employees just like you. Good people, working in London, who find themselves living with the serious and debilitating after-effects of an accident at work.

For every case we maintain the same strategy. We can think of no better approach than the positive effects of sensitivity and intent listening, genuine, targeted legal expertise and time-tested hard work.

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