Workplace Report December 2015

Health & safety - HSE Monitor

Council inspections fall

The number of proactive visits being carried out by local authority environmental health officers has fallen by a massive 95% over the last five years, according to a paper presented to a recent meeting of the HSE’s Local Authority Enforcement Liaison Committee. 

An HSE analysis of local authority (LA) inspection data for 2014-15 also shows a drop of 14% in “total intervention numbers” on the previous year and reports that an increasing number of local authorities (83) report that they no longer carry out proactive inspections. 

It reports that “decreasing resources and a more targeted approach to intervention” has led to councils and the businesses they regulate expressing concern about maintaining the competence of LA regulatory staff. 

In addition, it says that councils are finding it increasingly difficult to provide an effective regulatory service, with fewer and less experienced officers having to cover “an ever wider range of regulatory duties, beyond health and safety”.

In addition, the Procurator Fiscal — the public prosecutor in Scotland — has raised concerns about the quality of local authority-led investigations which subsequently caused difficulties in proceeding with prosecution cases.