Workplace Report October 2021

Health & safety - HSE Monitor

Congress demands more funding after HSE’s 60% real-terms cut

Last month’s TUC Congress called for a campaign for a substantial increase in funding for regulators including the HSE. A motion from the NASUWT teachers’ and Prospect specialists’ unions, supported by the FBU firefighters’ union, highlighted a 60% real-terms cut in government funding for the safety watchdog since 2009/2010. It also pointed out that the HSE was forced to recruit retired and outsourced inspectors to deliver Covid-19 spot-checks using short-term funding.

The motion also condemned the actions of key regulatory bodies throughout the pandemic and the lack of prosecutions of employers, despite the deaths of frontline workers.

It made clear “regulations are pointless without enforcement” and called on the TUC to campaign for a substantial increase in the budgets of the HSE and EHRC equalities and human rights body “to boost the numbers of inspectors on the ground”. Councils, fire authorities and boards must also have adequate funding.