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    UNION CLAIMS REGULATOR FALLING SHORT ON VISITS

    Fall of 30% in construction site inspections “risks lives”

    Construction union UCATT has warned that a “huge fall in construction safety is risking workers’ lives”.

    A Freedom of Information request made by UCATT has revealed that last year (2013/14) the number of inspections of construction sites in Scotland made by the HSE fell by 30%. In 2013/14 there were 881 inspections in Scotland compared to 1248 in 2012/13 and 1250 in 2011/12.

    Harry Frew, Regional Secretary for UCATT Scotland, said:

    “Construction inspections save lives. Without the expectation of inspections, construction employers are even more likely to ignore safety laws which put lives at risk and will lead to more injuries on construction sites.”

    The HSE’s budget has been under attack and has been cut by a third since 2010, but that still does not explain why there has been such a sharp drop in inspections in Scotland. Construction workers need to have answers.”

    Although the number of inspections fell by 30% in Scotland the overall figure across Scotland, England and Wales increased.

    There were a total of 11,303 inspections in 2013/14 compared with 10,577 in 2012/13. Inspections in the North West region fell by 13%.

    There was also a small drop in inspections undertaken in Wales the second year in a row that the country saw a decrease in inspection numbers.

    HSE defends site inspection performance

    The Health and Safety Executive has defended its policy on site safety inspections in the wake of the criticism from the UCATT. A spokesman for HSE said:

    “Inspection is one of a range of techniques used by HSE for improving health and safety in the construction industry. Focusing on inspection numbers gives an inaccurate picture and does not reflect all the work being carried out by HSE across the country.

    In addition to inspection, HSE investigates accidents, cases of ill health, and concerns about unsafe construction activities. We also influence in the boardroom and work jointly with industry bodies and trade unions in many other ways.

    The rate of major injuries in the construction industry is currently at its lowest level ever. However, the industry remains high risk.

    Everyone has a part to play to further reduce the unnecessary injuries and ill health on construction projects, and HSE continues to work with industry partners, including UCATT, to achieve further improvements.”

    The spokesman said there have been long-term improvements in the health and safety performance of the construction sector.

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