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Written by
on 31 October 2017


Construction remains one of the most dangerous industries in the UK – the HSE recorded 43 construction-related deaths between 2015 and 2016. All jobs on a construction site carry an element of risk, but some are decidedly more dangerous than others.

These are four of the most dangerous jobs on the average construction site.

Crane operator

Working at height is quite dangerous at ground level – but a hundred feet in the air, the risks are exponentially greater. Newer, taller cranes may have a lift to carry operators to the control deck, but most are simply fitted with a ladder which has to be climbed hand-over-hand. Even when safely secured to the crane, there is still a risk of injury if the operator slips as they climb.

Because of their height, cranes are exposed to wind, placing great strain on the structure. Cranes have been known to topple in strong winds, almost certainly killing the operator, and potentially crushing other workers on the site below.


Electricity is an essential part of every home or office – but few of us consider the risks taken by the electricians who install the wiring. Unsurprisingly, electricians need to be fully trained in working safely with potentially high voltages before they are allowed on site.

Electric shocks, falls, and incorrect use of equipment all increase the risks faced by these workers. One simple mistake when working with electricity could have fatal consequences.

Demolition worker

Pulling buildings down is at least as dangerous as putting them up; demolition workers must still operate on incomplete sites, often at height, in unsafe structures. They also come into regular contact with heavy machinery to tear down walls and, in some specialist cases, explosives.

Although constantly falling debris presents a significant short-term hazard, demolition workers are also at risk of contracting serious occupational diseases too. In the course of dismantling old building, demolition workers may be exposed to excess dust and asbestos, both of which cause fatal lung diseases.


Like the crane operator, roofers work well above “normal” height at the very top of a building. Roofers are often in danger of falling, with potentially fatal outcomes.

Roofers are fully reliant on safety rails, harnesses and well-maintained scaffolding to reduce the risk of an accident. Should any of these systems be poorly maintained, the odds of having a mishap are greatly increased.

All manageable risks

These jobs present a significant risk to workers – but those risks can be managed effectively. An in-depth risk assessment for every task on a site will help to identify potential hazards in advance, offering an opportunity to manage them – and protect employees.

Similarly PPE – and training in its proper use – is vital, helping to mitigate injury from falls, airborne particulates and general debris. Just remember to regularly inspect PPE and other safeguards to ensure they remain fit for purpose.

To learn more about better protecting your workforce onsite – including your labourers – please get in touch.

A chartered (fellow) safety and risk management practitioner with 20+ years of experience. David provides a healthy dose of how-to articles, advice and guidance to make compliance easier for construction professionals, Architects and the built environment. Get social with David on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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