News

HSE needs proper support to enforce new safety regime

12 May 2020

Prospect has warned that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) needs proper support if it is to enforce the government’s new guidelines on workplace safety and manage the transition back to work safely.

The union representing the expert inspectors in the HSE and has raised concerns about the levels of funding and staffing to effectively police the new regime.

On Monday the Prime Minister declared that HSE would be doing ‘spot checks’ of workplaces to ensure compliance with the new rules.

The government then announced an additional £14m was being made available to the HSE, however this is only a fraction of the money HSE has lost in government cuts in recent years.

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said:

“The government has finally published its detailed guidance on how to get back to work safely but there is still a significant lack of clarity on how it will work.

“The Prime Minister also indicated that HSE will be carrying out spot checks on workplaces to ensure safety.

“To enable HSE to cope with this level of work he promised a £14m funding boost, but this is just 10% of the real-terms funding cut the HSE has experienced over the past ten years and there are now fewer than 500 main grade inspectors in the UK.

“The new money will presumably be used to fund new inspectors but capacity is needed as soon as possible. How are the existing inspectors expected to do the required inspections, while also training new inspectors? And will these new inspectors be permanent positions?

“All these are questions the government must answer urgently so that workers know they will be able to return to work safely and that their workplace will be adequately regulated.”

 


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