The slide of safety standards are being encouraged by lack of inspections

The TUC holds the belief that an increasing number of companies that employ people have lost the fear that they can be caught for safety and health failings. This is mainly as a result of scaling-back of regulatory inspections by the Government.

According to the findings of TUC’s tenth biennial survey of unification safety reps that were published on 8th November 2012, it can be established that from the 1875 respondents interviewed, 45% reported that their workplace had never got a visit from a safety and health inspector. An additional 10% of safety reps had not seen a health and safety inspector at their workplace for a period of more than three years.

Only 28 percent of all respondents confirmed to having received a visit from a health and safety inspector at their workplace in the past one year. This figure was even higher for those safety reps working in the construction industry (41 percent) – a priority sector for the HSE.

According to the TUC reports, the is also concerning proof that a rising number of employers or companies are becoming less leaning towards making health and safety improvements because they have knowledge that there are very low or minimal chances of them getting an inspection. In the 2010 survey 61% of all safety reps said that their employers had attempted making safety improvements because there was a possibility of a safety inspection taking place. There was a sharp decline of this figure to 53 per cent in this year’s survey.

Brendan Barber, who is the general secretary of TUC, commented that the spending cuts by the government were having a huge effect on the probability of workplaces getting visits from the council safety inspectors or from the HSE. Nowadays, an increasing number of employers seem very content to let health and safety standards slip. He added that the employers do this because they are very confident that a safety inspector is highly unlikely to call unexpectedly and hold their policies on safety at workplace to account.

Among the chief safety concerns identified by the safety reps, harassment, bullying and stress were top of their list. TUC believes that most incidents that are grouped in these categories are mainly as a result of rising job insecurity and unease. These are mainly as a result of austerity economics and spending cuts.

Mr. Barber further explained that fears on how austerity was affecting employees’ jobs security and their family were having an actual impact on the well being and health of workers in the United Kingdom.

He added that job cuts increases the workload of those workers left behind. The increase of the workload leads to increase in stress levels among the over worked employees. This leads to a bigger risk of harassment and bullying of workers as supervisors who are stressed out take off their frustrations on the junior staff that they are supervising.

More on the results of this survey can be found on TUC’s website.

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