With the number of construction site inspections in Scotland falling by 30 per cent last year, according to the Union for Workers in the Construction Sector (UCATT), the lives of construction workers in Scotland are being put at an increased risk
To explain, despite inspecting 1,248 Scottish constructions sites in 2012/13 and carrying out 1,250 inspections in 2011/12, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) only inspected 881 construction sites across Scotland last year.
While the number of construction site inspections in the North West of England also dropped (13%), worryingly, the number of inspection carried out by the HSE across England and Wales increased in England and Wales from 10,577 in 2012/13 to 11,303 in 2013.
Commenting on the concerning developments, UCATT Regional Secretary for UCATT Scotland, Harry Frew stated:
"Construction inspections save lives. Without the expectation of inspections, construction employers are even more likely to ignore safety laws which put lives at risk and will lead to more injuries on construction sites.
"The HSE's budget has been under attack and has been cut by a third since 2010, but that still does not explain why there has been such a sharp drop in inspections in Scotland."
Defending the reduced number of inspections across Scotland, a spokesperson from HSE stated:
"Inspection is one of a range of techniques used by HSE for improving health and safety in the construction industry.
"Focusing on inspection numbers gives an inaccurate picture and does not reflect all the work being carried out by HSE across the country.
"There have been long term improvements in the health and safety performance of the construction sector.
"The rate of major injuries in the construction industry is currently at its lowest level ever, however the industry remains high risk.
"Everyone has a part to play to further reduce the unnecessary injuries and ill health on construction projects and HSE continues to work with industry partners, including UCATT, to achieve further improvements."
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