The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

HSE Drop in Construction Visits

10 March 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970

Figures obtained by UCATT have revealed a decline in the number of inspections that HSE is undertaking on construction sites.

The construction union UCATT made a Freedom of Information request to discover the number of ‘proactive’ (unannounced) construction inspections being made by the HSE for the year 2014/15.

These figures were then compared with a previous request for the same information in 2012/13. This revealed that the total number of HSE inspections for 2012/13 was 10,577 compared with 9,656 in 2014/15, a reduction of 8.7%. This decline in inspections came at a time when the construction industry was recovering from recession and activity was increasing.

The biggest reduction was in Scotland which saw a drop of 55.7% in inspections. There were also decreases in the North East (28.5%), North West (32.5%), the South East (19.6%) and in Wales (3.4%). However, there were some English regions where the number of inspections increased and the overall reduction for England was 2%.

Construction is recognised as the most dangerous industry in the UK in 2014/15, 35 construction workers suffered fatal injuries.

“The HSE needs to explain what is behind the reduction in inspectors is this due to budget cuts or specific policies to reduce inspection activity?” stated Brian Rye, Acting General Secretary, UCATT. “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 and workers could pay with their lives.”


Conviction rates

UCATT and HSE have been locking horns over the matter of the time it takes for the latter to convict guilty parties over construction deaths.

It alleges that t it takes 1,267 days (almost three and a half years) for someone convicted of causing the death of a construction worker to be brought to justice in British courts of law. The trades union has also criticised the level of conviction rates. It states that they have fallen from 51% in 2007/8 to 35% in 2012/13 and that 15% of deaths did not even reach the prosecution stage for three or four years after a worker’s death. “Three years is a disgrace,” said Brian Rye. “Construction deaths are not complex legal issues. The process to get to convictions should be quick and transparent and British construction workers and their families deserve justice and they deserve it to be delivered promptly.”

HSE has responded to the allegations of overlong conviction rates by first of all pointing that they had to be seen in the context of the progress made in the reduction of deaths in this sector where fatalities had been 100 in 2000/01 and 39 in 2014/15. In a statement, HSE noted: ‘All workplace fatalities need to be investigated thoroughly to prevent a recurrence and so that where breaches of health and safety requirements are identified then those who have failed in their responsibilities are held to account which may include bringing cases before the courts in England and Wales, or recommending prosecution in Scotland.’

Picture:   UCATT has alleged that the number of construction site inspections by HSE has been declining as well as criticising what it believes as low conviction rates of fatalities resulting from negligence 

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 10 March 2016


Related Articles

HSE COVID-Secure Spot Checks Continue Throughout UK

As Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire move into tier three of lockdown, the Health and Safety Executive will continue to operate safety inspections to check for...

 Read Full Article
BOHS Highlights Link Between Workplace Health and Sustainability Goals

Worker health protection standards directly relate to sustainable development goals, according to The British Occupational Hygiene Society and the Chartered Society for...

 Read Full Article
HSE Campaigns to Alleviate Worker Injuries

Experts at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are warning construction workers are picking up injuries and conditions that can stop them working and leave them...

 Read Full Article
Compliance Fines after Electrician’s Injuries at B&M Warehouse

B&M and Daker have been fined after an electrician suffered serious burns to 15 per cent of his body when he was caught in an explosion at a warehouse in...

 Read Full Article
HSE Publishes Annual Workplace Fatality Figures

HSE reports show that 123 workers died in work-related accidents from April 2021 to March 2022. 2,544 deaths in 2020 were due to Mesothelioma, cancer that can be...

 Read Full Article
Protecting Workers and Your Business at Heights

A building maintenance company has been fined £20,000 for their lapse in competent management of work carried out on a roof and gutters in Wolverhampton, resulting...

 Read Full Article
Mental Health Awareness Week – Combatting Loneliness 

The Mental Health Foundation started Mental Health Awareness Week 21 years ago, and it has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and...

 Read Full Article
World Day for Safety and Health at Work – The Cost of Construction Injuries

Research analysis demonstrates the impact of accidents in the construction industry and how workers and workplaces are being affected. This World Day for Safety and...

 Read Full Article
HSE Launches Free Workplace Stress Measurement Tool

The Health and Safety Executive’s new Stress Indicator Tool 2.0 allows employees to anonymously report work-related stress. Employers can therefore use this data...

 Read Full Article
HSE Advises on COVID and Ventilation in Offices

The advice includes how to ventilate rooms whilst keeping them warm, monitoring indoor air quality, and safely ventilating vehicles.   What are the Legal...

 Read Full Article