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Why is construction the most dangerous profession?

Construction is a dangerous business to be in. It has an unenviable record for injuring and killing its participants. It regularly comes top of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) table of statistics for fatalities and serious injuries.

Why is construction dangerous?

There are several possible explanations that come under consideration: it is often argued that a lot of construction work is carried out at height, in confined spaces, with vibrating tools or in dirty or dusty conditions. The exposure to hazardous substances including chemicals or asbestos is cited as a contributory factor, as is working in noisy conditions.

However, that doesn’t appear to tell the whole story. Although the HSE consistently records falls from height as the most common cause of fatal injury to construction workers, other industries involve this kind of work on a regular basis. In fact, the HSE records that over half of non-fatal construction-related injuries are caused either by slips and trips or handling, lifting and carrying.

While it is probably true that falls from height are more likely to kill people than just injure them, and this will be reflected in the statistics, it doesn’t seem to back up the proposition that height, noise, dirt and dust or complex tools by themselves play a significant part in the construction industry figures.


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