More than 2 million British people suffer some form of occupational ill health, with estimates of between 12,000-18,000 deaths a year from workplace hazards. Yet Prospect’s research shows:
- there are now only three occupational physicians left in HSE and 18 occupational health inspectors, down from 60 of each in the early 1990s.
- HSE’s Corporate Medical Unit is so depleted that it can no longer provide basic cover on occupational health advice and prevention or provide a leadership role to the OH community.
- HSE now has only five specialist radiation inspectors, falling to four later this year. An estimated 120,000 employers work with ionising radiations in the UK – one radiation inspector for every 30,000 employers.
- HSE has withdrawn from proactive radiation inspection to save costs, even though there are 280 deaths a year from occupational exposure to radon and widespread non-compliance with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999.
Sue Ferns, Head of Research at Prospect, will tell TUC delegates that the HSE has already been subject to a 25% spending cut, and required to reduce proactive inspections for high-hazard sectors by a third. Staffing figures at HSE have dropped from 3,702 in April 2010 to 2,889 in June 2012.
Ferns will flag up Löfstedt’s finding that the HSE provides a vital service, that health and safety law is fit for purpose and that the Government accepted his findings in full.
“Yet the Prime Minister, untroubled by the facts, launched a public attack pledging to tackle, in his words, a ‘health and safety monster’. No wonder that Professor Löfstedt subsequently expressed concern that his report could be ‘misused’ for political purposes.”
For further information contact:
Sue Ferns, Head of Research 07803 898708 (m)
Penny Vevers, Press Officer 07713 511710 (m)
Mike Macdonald, HSE Negotiator 07770 304486 (m)