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CALL TO HALT FALL IN HSE FRONT LINE INSPECTORS

Union reveals 25% cut and increasing delay in concluding investigations

The largest trades union in the UK has warned that “workers’ lives are being placed at risk due to the cut in the number of front line health and safety inspectors”.

Unite union has reported information obtained through a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) which shows that it takes on average 1,234 days between a workplace fatality and “those involved being brought to justice”.

The figures are for the year 2013/14 and show that delays have increased marginally from 2009/10 when it was on average taking 1,206 days between a workplace fatal injury and a prosecution conviction.

HSE inspectors play a vital role

The information also revealed that since 2010 there has been a 25 per cent reduction in the number of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspectors. In 2010 there were 1,311 front line inspectors by 31 December 2016 that number had reduced to just 980.

Unite state that HSE will see its funding cut by the end of this parliament to nearly half (46 per cent reduction) compared to 2010. In addition a “series of safety laws have also been scrapped”.

Unite Acting General Secretary Gail Cartmail, said:

“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. 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.”

 

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