Labour MP Stephen Hepburn and UCATT secure ministerial meeting over state of HSE

Pressure from Labour MP for Jarrow Stephen Hepburn and construction union UCATT has secured a ministerial meeting to discuss concerns about the performance of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

 

Yesterday (March 23rd) Mr Hepburn secured a parliamentary debate on the alarmingly low number of prosecutions following a construction fatality. The Minister with responsibility for the HSE, Justin Tomlinson MP, congratulated Mr Hepburn on securing the debate and offered him a meeting, in conjunction with UCATT, to discuss the state of the HSE. Mr Tomlinson said: “The honourable gentleman (Stephen Hepburn) made a powerful speech. He rightly wished to hold to account duty holders who fail to manage serious risks to their workers in the construction industry. I would be happy to meet him to discuss the matter further, along with representatives of the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians. I thank him for raising this important issue this evening.”

 

Mr Hepburn had told the House: “Put simply, if the HSE is failing to prosecute following construction deaths, and if there are not enough high-profile stories about the fines and penalties imposed on companies that cut corners to boost profits at the expense of a worker’s life, an ever greater number of companies will flout safety laws, safe in the knowledge that if a tragedy should occur, they are unlikely to be punished.”.

 

Quoting figures obtained via a Parliamentary question, Mr Hepburn went on to point out that even when convictions occur it takes far too long. He said: “In 2014-15 the average time between a fatal accident and a conviction in construction was now 1,267 days – or three-and-a-half years.”

 

UCATT Acting General Secretary, Brian Rye, said: “The current performance of the HSE is just not good enough. So we welcome the opportunity to talk directly to the Minister about the HSE and the state of health and safety in the UK. It’s one of our members’ primary concerns.”

 

Mr Rye added: “We thank Stephen Hepburn for working so closely with us, to bring the malaise at the HSE to the attention of Government. Let’s hope we get the desired response from the Minister and the HSE. We all have to be vigilant in the face of cost-cutting constructors. No one in 21st century Britain should be killed at work.”

 

 

 

 

 

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