UK Opens Inquiry on Root Causes of Construction Fatalities

Secretary of State James Purnell at Britain's Department for Work and Pensions has opened an inquiry into the root causes of construction fatalities in the United Kingdom. Purnell appointed Rita Donaghy as independent chair of the inquiry, and she'll consult with construction experts and will report to the government on her findings next year.

"The construction industry is one of the most dangerous sectors in the country. Over 2,800 people have died from injuries they received as a result of construction work in the past 25 years," Purnell said. "No one can find it acceptable that this number of people have died directly as a cause of their work and we are not making sufficient progress on preventing this total of human misery. The high number of fatalities in construction sector continue to be of particular concern to us, which is why I have asked Rita Donaghy to chair an inquiry looking at the underlying causes of construction fatal incidents to see what more can done to reduce this terrible toll."

"I am keen to get started and work with the trade unions, the industry, and the Health and Safety Executive to see what lessons we learn from the root causes of construction accidents so that we can improve the health and safety of construction workers," Donaghy said.

The inquiry will proceed in three phases: a comprehensive review of existing work to consolidate the understanding of fatal injuries in the construction industry with specific reference to vulnerability; a deeper analysis of underlying causes, including factors outside the health and safety system; and the report to ministers and HSE's board.

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