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Significant Drop in Safety Visits Spark Construction Fears

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There has been a 50% drop in the number of safety visits to construction sites in Scotland in the last year, leading to concerns about the number of workers who could suffer serious injuries.

In the UK alone, construction injuries are one of the most common workplace accidents with thousands of employees seriously injured as a result. However, according to figures, the UK government have drastically cut the number of inspections in Scotland and other areas of the country.

Scotland had a cut of almost 50% with England having a cut in the number of inspections by less than 5%.

"Signifiant Reduction" in Random Safety Checks

In 2012/13 there were 1248 proactive inspections carried out by the Executive, however, recent data showed that this had fallen to 552 - a 55.7% reduction.

The number of inspections that resulted in enforcement action against employers also fell from 156 to 108. In 2012/13.

Professor Andrew Watterson, who is part of the Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group at Stirling University, said: “For employees in the construction industry, even the person in the street knows they face major work safety as well occupational-ill health dangers. It is therefore deeply disappointing to see the numbers of pro-active inspections of construction sites by HSE in Scotland cut so dramatically between 2011 and 2015.”

He added: “ HSE increasingly looks and sounds like a toothless tiger – a lot of noise and increasingly little action”.

A spokesperson for the HSE said: “Construction is a sector HSE treats as a priority. HSE’s work with the industry follows a national plan, and we have teams of construction specialists across Great Britain.

“Inspection and enforcement, while important, are part of a much wider mix of approaches for improving health and safety standards in construction. Focusing solely on inspection numbers, therefore, gives an inaccurate picture and does not reflect all the work being carried out by others. In addition to inspection, HSE investigates accidents, cases of ill health, and concerns about unsafe construction activities.”

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