Unite, Britain's biggest union, is urging the government to increase funding for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as a series of spot checks which took place throughout September revealed that almost half of the construction sites visited failed the checks.
Since the Tory-led government took power, health and safety laws and regulations have come under attack. By the end of Parliament the Health and Safety Executive will have seen its budget slashed by 35 per cent.
During September the HSE took part in unannounced safety checks on construction sites across the UK to identify poor standards and reduce the number of injuries and deaths. The inspectors found material breaches at just less than half of more than 1,000 sites inspected.
Material breaches of health and safety law require inspectors to issue a written notice to the contractor, which can include notification, an improvement, a prohibition notice, or prosecution.
The breaches add weight to the growing demands to increase capacity and funding for the HSE.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said:
"The HSE's spot checks throughout September are proof that the Executive needs more capacity and funding. The extent of the breaches uncovered also shows why trade union health and safety committees are so important in the construction industry and why we need more.
"The ending of the spot checks will be manna from heaven for the worst employers and unfair to employers who work with unions to get it right. The government's attack on health and safety must be reversed."
For further information contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland's largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.