BBC research reveals shock drop in construction inspections

Construction Union UCATT is deeply alarmed after research by BBC Radio Wales revealed that the number of vital life-saving inspections in construction undertaken in Wales fell by 35% in just 12 months.

Via a Freedom of Information Request to the Health and Safety Executive the BBC discovered that the number of proactive (unannounced) inspections in Wales fell from 818 in 2011/12 to just 529 in 2012/13. The number of prosecutions undertaken by the HSE in the Welsh construction sector fell from 3 in 2011/12 to 0 in 2012/13.

The fall was not due to any improvement in construction safety. When the HSE undertook an intensive round of inspections in Wales in September 2013 it found significant safety failures and dangerous practices on nearly a third of the construction sites it visited.

The decline in the number of inspections of 35% is exactly the same figure as the cut to the HSE’s budget. In 2010 the Government announced that by 2015 the HSE’s budget would be cut by at least 35%.

Nick Blundell, Regional Secretary for UCATT Wales and the South West, said; “These cuts are truly alarming. Inspections save lives. This fall in inspections is putting construction workers in danger.”

Mr Blundell added: “With the construction industry slowly recovering after the recession the fall in inspections is even more dangerous as it means that even fewer sites will be inspected. New entrants into the industry are particularly vulnerable and at risk of suffering an accident.”

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