Labour tells Government ‘up your game’ to make workplaces safe
Labour today tells the Government ‘up your game’ and fully resource safety inspections to give workers confidence they can safely return to work outside the home.
A decade of cuts has left the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities without the resources they need to adequately carry out physical inspections and provide support to workers and employers. The coronavirus crisis has made the need to address this even more urgent.
As more of our economy reopens today, Labour is publishing research that shows that since 2010 Government funding for the HSE has been slashed by more than half, the number of inspectors has dropped by more than one third, there have been 30% fewer enforcement notices, a 62% fall in prosecutions and a 50% drop in convictions. Spending on health and safety by local authorities has also fallen by over 40%.
On average, employers will only see an inspector once every 275 years. But a majority of workers say spot inspections should be conducted in person, and key workers whose work is affected by the coronavirus have identified health and safety as their biggest concern.
Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights and Protections, said:
“Laws to protect workers are not worth the paper they’re written on if we cannot enforce them. The Government has been too slow too often in tackling the coronavirus outbreak and needs to up its game.
“Workers need to be able to trust the Prime Minister when he says it is safe to return to work outside the home, and have confidence that their health and their families’ health will be protected.
“Without full resourcing, there cannot be an effective system for workplace inspections, putting workers, their families and the public at risk, and undermining the national effort to fight this virus.”