HSE inspections up, but prosecutions down over past year

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Prosecutions for health and safety offences fell over last year, but inspections increased slightly, according to HSE’s annual report published this summer.

In 2022/23, HSE completed 216 criminal prosecutions for breaches of health and safety with a 94 per cent conviction rate. This is down from 290 prosecutions in 2021/22, and going back further to pre-Covid times, numbers are down by 67 per cent from 361 prosecutions in 2018/19.

However, HSE delivered more proactive inspections over the past 12 months, visiting 16,800 workplaces, a hundred more than in 2021/22.

HSE has delivered more proactive inspections over the past 12 months. Photograph: iStock

250 new members of staff joined HSE last year. The regulator also grew its income by £1 million to £90 million and received £172 million in government funding, £40 million more than in 2018/19.

The extra funding has helped the regulator to establish and prepare for the new Building Safety Regulator for England, which sits within HSE.

It has also played a ‘significant part’, it says, in the safe delivery of the government’s commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This includes working to enable industry to innovate safely to prevent major incidents.

As the report highlights, as well as new risks and responsibilities, long-standing problems remain such as the toll of ill health. Last year, 1.8 million people suffered from work-related ill health, largely due to stress but also musculoskeletal disorders.

There are still 12,000 deaths from lung disease each year and 123 workers were killed doing their jobs.

Writing in the report’s foreword, Sarah Newton, HSE’s chair and Sarah Albon, HSE’s chief executive said: “Work-related ill health is a problem for every section of society, with conditions ranging from cancer and other long-latency diseases to stress and musculoskeletal disorders.

"Over a year ago we launched our campaign to address the lack of knowledge in the workplace concerning work-related stress. Our Working Minds campaign is bringing together organisations to reduce work-related stress and improve mental health.”

HSE annual report and accounts 2022/23 here


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