Prosecutions for health and safety breaches have reached a record low, HSE has revealed prompting warnings that bosses are prepared to flout safety laws because they no longer fear consequences.
HSE prosecuted 394 cases in 2018/19, a decrease of 23 per cent from 2017/18, statistics show. It is the lowest number for five years and represents a drop of over a third since 2014/15, when 600 cases resulted in a conviction at court.
Unite national officer Jerry Swain called the figures ‘deeply concerning’ particularly as there has been a rise in injuries in sectors.
Looking at the RIDDOR reportable non-fatal injuries for construction workers, these rose from 359 per 100,000 workers in 2017/18 to 366 in 2018/19. Swain said: “This is a dangerous cocktail and it will likely to result in a greater number of workers being injured and possibly killed unless urgent action is taken to reverse this trend.”
“Too many employers in construction remain prepared to ignore safety laws, to boost profits, as they believe that they won’t be caught,” he added.
HSE says in its report, which is a snapshot of data on injuries and ill health in 2019, that it is exploring if “a larger than normal number of inspectors in training” could be a factor in the fall.
HSE this year ran a nationwide recruitment drive for new inspectors, as well as appointing 24 trainee inspectors.
Inspectors are taking longer to complete their investigations. In 2018/19 just 65 per cent of fatal investigations were completed within 12 months of the incident, compared with 81 per cent the year before.
£54.5 million in fines were issued for health and safety offences last year, versus £71.6 million in 2017/18, but the average fine has stayed the same. This suggests the drop in total fines is due to the decrease in cases completed.
HSE enforcement stats: https://bit.ly/33jsOcg
By Belinda Liversedge on 24 January 2020
Poor mental health is costing UK employers up to £45 billion, an increase of 16 per cent since it last investigated the issue in 2017, according to new analysis by Deloitte.
By Belinda Liversedge on 15 January 2020
It is feared that the UK will miss a range of environmental targets in the early 2020s, including air pollution and recycling, says a joint report by Unearthed and the Financial Times.
By Belinda Liversedge on 07 January 2020
Unite the union has warned that the new sound chosen for London’s electric buses creates dangers for road users and pedestrians as it sounds nothing like a traditional bus.