Recently, a warning was made by Unite union claiming that construction workers’ lives are being put at risk due to a reduced number of health and safety inspectors.
Unite found that since 2010, there has been a 25% reduction of health and safety executive inspectors. This was found after a freedom of information request was submitted by the union. The figures showed that in 2010, there were 1,311 inspectors on the front line, inspecting sites. However, by the end of 2016, that number had dropped to just 980.
Not only that, but another freedom of information request also unveiled shocking statistics. The request revealed that it can take almost three years after an on site accident has taken place, for the individual who was at fault to be held responsible. The general secretary of the union stated: “HSE inspectors play a vital role in keeping workers safe.”
“Rogue bosses who are prepared to break safety laws, are only kept in check by the fear of being caught and punished.”
“Fewer inspectors mean more bosses willing to risk workers’ lives to boost profits.”
“It is clear that the HSE is being denied the resources to undertake its role properly.”
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“In these circumstances, it is more important than ever that union safety reps are given the training, support and time to conduct their duties and keep their fellow workers safe.”
“However rather than boosting the rights and powers of safety reps the Conservative government has been intent on making their role even more difficult.”
“All political parties need to give a pledge to make workplace safety a priority and commit to giving the HSE the proper resources to undertake its role effectively and ensure workers are safe at work.”
However, a spokesperson for the HSE stated: “HSE helps maintain Great Britain as one of the safest places to work in the world.”
“The construction sector is a priority for HSE. We have teams of dedicated construction specialists across England, Scotland and Wales who target the highest risk sites and activities.”
“Through improved targeting, we have been able to direct inspectors to tackle more serious risks, and this inevitably means that inspections take longer.”
“However, we do not measure our impact simply by counting the number of inspections.”
“In addition to planned inspections, we also respond to concerns about unsafe construction activities and investigate cases of ill health and injury, and provide advice to employers and workers.”
“We remain actively committed to improving standards in the construction industry through the full range of options available to us.”
So what do you think of this? Could your safety be at risk? Let us know what you think in the comments below.