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Wed May 12 2021

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Safety inspections down by 14%

23 Jun 17 The number of visits made by Health & Safety Executive inspectors to construction sites in Great Britain has fallen by 14% in 12 months.

In 2015/16 there were 9,219 construction site inspections. In 2016/17, this reduced to 7,912.

The reduction in inspections follows a trend as there was also a 4% decrease in the previous 12 months.

The numbers were obtained by Unite, the UK’s principal construction union, through a freedom of information (FOI) request. The union has now written to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and David Gauke, the new work and pensions secretary with responsibility for the HSE, seeking meetings.

The HSE’s funding is set to be cut further, with its budget in 2020 set to be nearly half what it was in 2010. The union is also concerned that some safety legislation could be scrapped as part of future post-Brexit deregulation.

A regional breakdown also revealed marked differences in inspection activity with just one region, Scotland, recording an increase in the past 12 months.


Change in #visits +/-



East Midlands
















West Midlands




Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “These figures are alarming as they demonstrate a huge decrease in vital lifesaving inspections. Sadly there remain far too many employers who are all too willing to cut safety regulations and it is only the genuine prospect of an unannounced inspection which keeps them in check.

“The government has slashed funding for the HSE and it is clear that it is increasingly struggling to make ends meet. With a new secretary of state in place Unite and our members need to know what plans he has for the HSE and safety laws.

“We also need answers from the HSE about whether they are taking steps to redress this fall in inspections and whether there are specific reasons for these reductions.”

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