HSC concern over local authority inspection rates

The
Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has expressed concern over a fall in
inspection rates by local authorities, which it claims is partly caused by
recruitment problems in the regulatory services.

New
statistics show that enforcement inspection rates by local authorities have
fallen by 10 per cent, while the number of full-time officers responsible for
health and safety has fallen below 1997 levels.

Around
12 million people rely on local authorities to protect their health and safety
while at work, along with countless numbers of the public who depend on
inspections to ensure their safety in places like hotels and supermarkets.

Allan
Davies, head of the local authority unit at the HSC, accused local authorities
of reducing the priority they give to health and safety enforcement.

He
cited the recruitment crisis in local government as one of the major factors in
the drop-off in enforcement, particularly in relation to the regulatory
services.

"There
is clear evidence that many local authority inspectors are more carefully
targeting their work to areas of greatest risk and this must be recognised and
commended. However, the overall trend is not encouraging," he said.

“The
Health and Safety Commission has set clear priorities for health and safety and
local government has a key role in meeting those targets. Continual under-resourcing
must be addressed to provide a consistent approach across the country,” he
added.

www.hse.gov.uk

By Ross Wigham

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