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From: The Socialist issue 485, 3 May 2007: Time for a new workers' party

Search site for keywords: hse - Health and safety

The scandal of HSE cuts

THE NUMBER of workers killed in construction accidents last year rose by 25%, but the number of companies convicted of offences following the deaths of construction workers has fallen by nearly three quarters, a report by building union UCATT says.

UCATT and other construction unions have campaigned for a crackdown on companies that jeopardise safety on building sites with legislation that means directors can face imprisonment if a worker is killed on their companies' sites.

Their report shows Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecutions for deaths plummeted from 42% to 11% between 1998 and 2004 with some cases taking three years to come to trial.

Over this six-year period 504 construction workers died.

Also, the government plan to cut around 300 jobs from the HSE and move 300 jobs from the London office to Bootle. Public and Commercial Services union members protested at these cuts on 30 April, joined by some of the bereaved families.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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Health and safety keywords:

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injuries (7)

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Article dated 3 May 2007

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