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17Feb94 UK: ACCIDENTS TAKE TOLL ON BUILDING BOSSES.

By Grant Prior.Construction bosses spend more time and money dealing with work-related accidents than other industry chiefs.And building site injuries cost the country more than £2 billion of the total £16 billion annual accident bill worked out by the Health and Safety Executive.Officials at the HSE spotlighted construction as part of their probe into the effect of industrial accidents on the country's economy.And investigators said: 'The ratio of administration costs to other costs is rather larger in the building industry than other sectors, indicating a high proportion of management time spent dealing with accidents, which is reinforced by the considerably higher frequency of accidents in construction.'Occupational illnesses are also costing contractors a fortune, with 487,000 days lost a year through work-related ailments caused on construction sites.Researchers from the HSE examined the pattern of illnesses and injuries on a typical site to calculate the cost of accidents to the industry.And slip-ups which did not result in injury were included at a cost of £35 a go in terms of management time and damaged materials.These breakages and mishaps alone cost contractors £530 million.And that figure is boosted by the £1.5 billion bill caused by reportable accidents and injuries which means builders have more days off sick than other workers except coal miners and nurses.The bill for all industries has now reached £16 billion at an average cost of £360 a worker every year.HSE director general John Rimington said: 'These figures provide a striking indication of the potential for gains to companies, and would-be victims of accidents and ill health, that could be available from action to improve standards of health and safety in the workplace.'An HSE statistician said: 'We spent a long time studying the construction site and our findings provide a reasonable estimate of the situation in the industry countrywide.' CONSTRUCTION NEWS