Socialist Worker

Are cuts at the HSE costing lives in construction?

Issue No. 2045

A construction worker was killed on Thursday of last week in Liverpool’s third fatal crane accident in the last three months.

The death is the second fatality involving a crane collapse and the third deadly industrial accident involving a crane in the city this year.

Keith Wharton was killed earlier this month when a steel girder fell on top of him from a crane on 8 March.

In a separate incident, a Polish worker was killed when a crane collapsed in Liverpool city centre on 15 January. In September last year two men died when a crane collapsed in Battersea in London.

Socialist Worker can reveal 78 people have died on construction sites in the last year. The year previously the figure was 59. While the official figures have yet to be published there is also a significant rise in the number of serious injuries to construction workers.

Cuts at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are having a serious effect on safety on construction sites.

For instance, in the last three years the HSE has stopped acting on “adverse insurance reports”. These are when an engineer carrying out equipment inspections for an insurer finds something wrong and passes the information to the HSE.

The HSE is being forced to cut up to 300 jobs by 2008. In particular, there has been a 10 percent cut in the number of construction inspectors.

And there is a moratorium on staff recruitment across its construction division.

Workers’ Memorial Day takes place on 28 April. For a list of events go to

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Sat 7 Apr 2007, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2045
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