Shock drop in North West construction inspections as deaths rise

Construction Union UCATT has discovered through a Freedom of Information request that there was a major drop in the number of construction inspections in the North West last year. The fall in inspections coincided with a sharp increase in construction fatalities in the region.

In 2013/14 the Health and Safety Executive undertook 1192 proactive (unannounced) inspections in the North West compared to 1370 in 2012/13, a reduction of 13%. The figures for 2013/14 were also lower than those of 2011/12 when there were 1203 inspections in the region.

The decrease in construction inspections occurred when the industry was beginning to recover from the recession and coincided with a sharp increase in construction fatalities. There were five fatalities in the region in 2013/14 compared to two deaths the previous year.

Andy Fisher, Regional Secretary of UCATT North West, said: “The fall in inspections is deeply alarming, far too many construction employers pay lip service to safety laws, and the threat of an inspection is often the best guarantee of a worker’s safety being protected.”

Mr Fisher added: “With construction starting to emerge from the depths of the recession it is essential that inspection activity increases to meet demand. We need to especially vigilant that new entrants into the industry are following safety laws. HSE inspections save lives and reduce serious injuries.”

The overall number of inspections across England, Scotland and Wales, undertaken by the HSE, increased by 7% from 10,577 in 2012/13 to 11,303 in 2013/14.

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