‘55 per cent fall’ in HSE inspection visits to Scottish sites

HSEThe number of unannounced inspections to construction sites in Scotland last year has more than halved compared to the previous year, according to new statistics.

Figures obtained by construction union UCATT have revealed that Scotland saw a drop of 55.7 per cent in the number of proactive construction inspections being made by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The Freedom of Information request showed the total number of UK-wide HSE inspections for 2012/13 was 10,577 compared to 9,656 in 2014/15, a reduction of 8.7 per cent.

The biggest reduction was in Scotland but there was also a decreases: in the North East 28.5 per cent, North West 32.5 per cent, the South East 19.6 per cent and in Wales 3.4 per cent. There were some English regions where the number of inspections increased and the overall reduction for England was 2 per cent.

Brian Rye, acting general secretary of UCATT, said the decline in inspections came at a time when the construction industry was recovering from recession and activity was increasing.

He added: “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.”

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

Mr Rye added: “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? Construction workers deserve to be told the truth.”

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