UCATT, the Construction Union, says more workers within the Industry will be killed and injured as a result of the cuts being imposed on the HSE. It has been revealed that the safety watch dog is considering axing unannounced site safety inspections by a third. In March of 2011, the Government announced that automatic inspections would in future only take place in the energy, nuclear and chemical industries.
Chris Grayling, the minister tasked with addressing workplace safety, said that the proposals would free businesses of “unnecessary bureaucracy”. In essence, the funding to the HSE would be slashed by at least 35% and thus reducing further inspections and enforcement activity within what is, a potentially dangerous Industry.
It is worth noting that, although the Industry is going through a quite period due to the current recession, in the last 12 months up to April, 42 workers were killed on sites with many more suffering injuries, some severe. Of the reported deaths, 25 were the result of working at height. As the Industry as a whole has a “duty of care” to all those working within it, any cuts related to health & safety could be regarded as a backward step with potentially devastating consequences.