Fact Service May 2011

Issue 18

Safety inspector blows whistle on HSE cuts

Huge cuts in the funding of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) mean major work sites will only be inspected after a death or serious injury.

A health and safety inspector delivered the stark warning at a Workers’ Memorial Day event on 28 April as budget cuts are set to threaten the lives of workers on major construction and manufacturing sites and farms.

HSE union rep Simon Hester said that 35% funding cut means that inspections on major sites would only now take place after a death or serious injury has occurred.

His warning came just days after the HSE and local police confirmed they were investigating a fatality on the London Gateway building site in Essex where the body of Robert Mayne was discovered by co-workers.

Hester said that sites including the public sector, health, education, local government, transport, quarries and agriculture would also no longer be inspected unannounced. And significant elements of manufacturing industry will also go without inspections in future, he revealed.

“The role of the HSE is being undermined,” said Hester, a member of the Prospect union. “We won’t be the last line of defence any more we will be coming in to pick up the pieces. If we are going to fight for the living we have to get off our knees and organise.”