Construction union UCATT has warned that a fall in construction safety inspections is risking workers’ lives.
A Freedom of Information request revealed that last year (2013/14) the number of inspections of construction sites in Scotland made by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) plummeted by 30%.
In 2013/14 there were just 881 inspections in Scotland, compared with 1,248 in 2012/13 and 1,250 in 2011/12.
The dramatic fall coincided with the industry beginning to emerge from recession and an increase in activity.
Construction is the most dangerous industry in the UK; last year there were five construction fatalities in Scotland alone.
UCATT Scotland regional secretary Harry Frew said: “Construction inspections save lives. Without the expectation of inspections, employers are even more likely to ignore safety laws, putting lives at risk and leading to more injuries.
“The HSE’s budget has been under attack and has been cut by a third since 2010, but that still does not explain why there has been such a sharp drop in inspections in Scotland. Construction workers need to have answers.”
Although the number of Scottish inspections fell, the overall figure across Scotland, England and Wales increased.
There were a total of 11,303 inspections in 2013/14 compared with 10,577 in 2012/13. Inspections in the North West fell by 13%.
There was also a small drop in inspections undertaken in Wales. It is the second year in a row that the country saw a decrease in inspection numbers.