Trade union Unite has expressed concerns over the fact that the number of unannounced inspections carried out on construction sites in the UK by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors fell by 14 per cent in a year.
Following a freedom of information request, the organisation revealed that the number of inspections conducted in 2016/17 stood at 7,912, down from the 9,219 carried out in 2015/16.
After uncovering the information, Unite revealed it had written to both the HSE and the new work and pension secretary David Gauke to request meetings to discuss the issue.
Gail Cartmail, Unite Acting Secretary General, described the figures as “alarming”, adding that the decrease in these inspections could cost lives.
“Sadly there remain far too many employers who are all too willing to cut safety regulations and it is only the genuine prospect of an unannounced inspection which keeps them in check,” she asserted.
Ms Cartmail suggested that the funding cuts to the HSE’s budget could be behind the fall in the number of inspections, noting that this should be addressed.
This isn’t the first time that Unite has issued a warning about health and safety issues in the UK in recent months, with the union highlighting the falling number of HSE inspectors back in May.
It also stressed that the amount of time it takes to get convictions for workplace fatalities needs to be looked at, because it is currently taking too long for families to get justice. On average, it takes three years and four months to get a conviction in such cases.
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