Work Accident Lawyer Speaks Out
A work accident specialist at national law firm Irwin Mitchell has expressed concern over the number of inspections being carried out by the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE), after statistics show that inspection levels have fallen by almost 70 per cent.
Figures obtained by Hazards magazine through the Freedom of Information act show that the number of inspections carried out by the HSE has dropped from 75,252 (1999/2000) to 23,004 (2008/2009). Over a similar time period the number of offences prosecuted also fell significantly, dropping from 1,986 (2001/2002) to 1,090 (2008/2009). Inspector contact time is also at its lowest levels since 2001.
David Urpeth, national head of Workplace Injuries at Irwin Mitchell, said: "A strong and robust system of inspection and enforcement is a major catalyst for improved health and safety.
“For this reason these statistics, obtained from the Health and Safety Executive under the Freedom of Information Act, are of great concern. To see the number of inspections and prosecutions dropping so significantly in the last ten years is very worrying indeed. The HSE should be sending out the message that employers will not get away with compromising employee safety.
“Sadly, on a daily basis, I see the misery caused by injuries sustained during accidents at work. In many cases these could and should have been avoided by following proper health and safety procedures.
“Although we have seen a reduction in certain accidents in recent years I am concerned that, without the HSE investing in inspections and prosecutions, the trend will be reversed and more people may be injured and killed at work.”