Figures obtained by the Unite union, via a Freedom of Information request, have revealed that since 2010 there has been a 25% reduction in the number of HSE inspectors.
Only 7 years ago we had 1,311 HSE inspectors across the UK, fast forward to December 31st, 2016 and that number has dwindled to a frankly worrying number of just 980.
Unite released the figures not long before today (international safety and health at work day) in order to highlight the increased lack of enforcement of H&S protocol on site. It also highlights the increased pressure that many sites are under to audit and perform in-depth in-house risk assessments.
Also included in the recent announcement was the shocking revelation that it takes almost 3.5 years on average for a final sentencing after a fatality.
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.”
Gail also went on further to explain “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”.
I think it’s clear from these quotes to say that Health & Safety on the site is becoming an increasingly more difficult situation to monitor and we as an industry need to be more ‘proactive’ rather than ‘reactive’.
We’re in a time where cable management has become a huge issue within construction much like a lot of other safety hazards and therefore require attention in situations where there have been minimal previously.