Numbers of Front-line health and safety inspectors have been cut by 25 per cent in six years according to figures obtained by the Unite union.
In 2010 the total of inspectors stood at 1,311, but by the end of 2016 this had fallen to just 980. These shocking statistics emerged from a Freedom of Information request in the run up to International Workers’ Memorial Day.
This news comes amid revelations acquired from the same source revealing it takes three years four months on average, for any sentence to be handed down after a workplace fatality. Clearly the findings are worrying for industry professionals.
“HSE inspectors play a vital role in keeping workers safe,” said Unite acting general secretary Gail Cartmail.
“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. 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.”
The Health and Safety Executive is the body responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare. It also carries out vital research into occupational risks in Great Britain.
As part of its work HSE investigates industrial accidents, small and large, including major incidents. Both Unite and workers in the construction industry will be watching the situation closely in the hope things will improve going forward in terms of growing health and safety inspector numbers going forward.