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    HSE INSPECTIONS OF CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS FALL

    hselogo1Information released to UCATT reveals 8% fall in HSE inspections

    UCATT has reported that data obtained under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request have revealed a decline in the number of HSE inspections undertaken on construction sites.

    The FOI concerned the number of proactive (unannounced) construction inspections being made by the HSE for the year 2014/15 and the data has been compared to an earlier FOI request for the same information in 2012/13.

    UCATT state that the total number of HSE inspections for 2012/13 was 10,577 compared to 9,656 in 2014/15 a reduction of 8.7% commenting that the decline was “at a time when the construction industry was recovering from recession and activity was increasing”.

    Brian Rye, Acting General Secretary of UCATT, said:

    “This fall in inspection activity is deeply troubling. The prospect of an unexpected knock on the door by a construction inspector is what keeps many employers on their toes.

    If employers believe that their safety procedures are not going to be checked this will lead to slackness and corners being cut. Workers could pay with their lives.

    HSE needs to explain what is behind the reduction in inspectors is this due to budget cuts or specific policies to reduce inspection activity? Construction workers deserve to be told the truth.”

    Scotland saw a drop of 55.7% in inspections and there were decreases in the North East 28.5%, North West 32.5%, the South East 19.6% and in Wales 3.4%. There were some English regions where the number of inspections increased and the overall reduction for England was 2%.

    Impact not simply about by counting numbers

    The Construction Manager online has reported a response from an HSE spokesperson who told CM:

    “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. 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.”

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