It’s right to expect that the air we breathe is clean, that our homes and workplaces are safe, and that help is at hand in case of fire. But, left unchecked, rogue operators can cut corners. When developers fail to make buildings fire-safe, car companies lie about pollution, or landlords exploit the vulnerable, ordinary people can get hurt.

The task of ensuring that businesses and other establishments are meeting the law on health and safety is shared between the Health and Safety Executive and Local Authorities. There are other important ways that these bodies keep us safe from harm, such as checking up on industrial operators which may be causing pollution. Fire authorities oversee the delivery of fire and rescue services.

Over the last nine years, funding for UK health and safety bodies has fallen sharply. From 2009/10 to 2017/18 the Health and Safety Executive’s funding fell by over half, with staff falling by a third over this period. Local Authorities, meanwhile, now spend a third less on health and safety than they did in 2009, and local front-line inspectors have fallen by half.

Enforcement activity has suffered as a result. The average business can now expect to be visited by Local Authority health and safety inspectors once every 20 years. Fire safety audits, air pollution checks and business inspections have all fallen steadily, and less 0.1% of workplace fatalities and injuries result in a prosecution.

The task of ensuring that businesses and other establishments are meeting the law on health and safety is shared between the Health and Safety Executive and Local Authorities. There are other important ways that these bodies keep us safe from harm, such as checking up on industrial operators which may be causing pollution. Fire authorities oversee the delivery of fire and rescue services.

Over the last nine years, funding for UK health and safety bodies has fallen sharply. From 2009/10 to 2017/18 the Health and Safety Executive’s funding fell by over half, with staff falling by a third over this period. Local Authorities, meanwhile, now spend a third less on health and safety than they did in 2009, and local front-line inspectors have fallen by half.

Enforcement activity has suffered as a result. The average business can now expect to be visited by Local Authority health and safety inspectors once every 20 years. Fire safety audits, air pollution checks and business inspections have all fallen steadily, and less 0.1% of workplace fatalities and injuries result in a prosecution.

EILEEN’S STORY

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Glasgow

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South London

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