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Unannounced HSE construction inspections fall 15% since 2012

Statistics acquired by construction union UCATT have revealed that the number of unannounced inspections by the Health and Safety Executive on…

Statistics acquired by construction union UCATT have revealed that the number of unannounced inspections by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on construction sites across the UK has fallen.

The total number of HSE inspections for 2012/13 was 10,577, compared to 9,656 in 2014/15; a reduction of 8.7%. There is however, significant variation across the UK, ranging from an increase of 57% in the South West to a drop of 41% in Wales.

The biggest reduction was in Scotland with a drop of 55.7% in inspections. There were also decreases: in the North East 28.5%, North West 32.5%, South East 19.6% and in Wales 3.4%.

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.”

A HSE spokesperson said that the construction sector is a priority for the regulator:

“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.”