Received from: Prospect
Congress believes that cuts over the last decade have substantially weakened the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It is struggling to effectively regulate as it should across many sectors, from construction and factories to major hazard installations.
Congress notes with concern that the number of main grade inspectors has fallen well below 500, and that there has been a sharp decline in inspection and enforcement activity since 2010.
This is compounded by salary stagnation over ten years of austerity, making it more difficult for HSE to recruit and retain staff. There is now a capacity and experience crisis. More inspectors leave every year than HSE can recruit and train. Its science base is shrinking.
Further punishing staff cuts will exacerbate an already serious situation, meaning that more people will die in avoidable workplace accidents and from preventable diseases, while families, colleagues and communities will be denied justice.
Congress believes the sharp decline in budget and staffing means HSE cannot fully protect workers and the public. Much of this has been done without effective parliamentary scrutiny.
Congress calls on the General Council to lobby and campaign for:
i. appropriate funding for HSE
ii. a substantial increase in staff capacity to deliver effective enforcement, policy making and scientific decision making
iii. HSE staff to be appropriately rewarded for their vital work
iv. a work and pensions select committee inquiry into the resourcing, work and independence of HSE.
› In paragraph 1, sentence 2, delete “many” and replace with “all”.
› At end of paragraph 1, add “and has, due to woeful under-resourcing, failed to take any meaningful action on the work-related mental ill-health epidemic.”
› Add at end of paragraph 4:
“Congress notes the additional responsibilities and pressures placed on the HSE by the Building Safety Act and other related matters arising from the Grenfell Tower fire.”
Fire Brigades Union