HSE needs a long term solution to chronic understaffing

9 July 2020

Prospect members in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have reacted angrily after it was revealed that inspectors who have left are being offered short-term contracts on beneficial terms to return to help with spot checks for the Covid crisis.

Retirees and people who left for other employment are being offered pay levels at the top of their former bands to return to work for eight months.

Mike Clancy, Prospect general secretary, said:

“This is belated but welcome recognition that without more inspectors the HSE cannot carry out its regulatory activities to the best of its ability. But recruiting former inspectors on short term contracts is not the answer to a long term problem.

“Over the last few years the HSE has become increasingly short staffed and needs significantly more permanent inspectors to meet a gap in capability. Management seem to have finally cottoned on to the fact that one of the reasons so many inspectors have left is low pay – offering to bring former inspectors back at the top of the pay scale for their grade. But this is a slap in the face for those staff who have chosen to put their dedication before pay and remained in the HSE.

“Covid has shone a light on the capacity of the HSE to fulfil its essential public function but it is not the cause of shortcomings. This is a long term structural problem caused by years of cuts and only a long-term boost in recruitment and wages will solve it.”

For a fully funded HSE

The campaign for health and safety regulation to get the resources it needs