The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced last week that between 250 and 350 jobs will go by 2008.
Prospect, the union representing 1,750 workers in the HSE, has slammed the news.
Prospect HSE branch chair Stephen Kay said, “We welcome the commitment to try to achieve these losses through voluntary redundancies, but any reduction in HSE staff numbers will inevitably impact on the drive to improve safety.”
Management have not ruled out compulsory redundancies.
The announcement coincides with a report, published in the TUC-backed Hazards magazine, that says while the HSE is implementing a strategy to move away from hands-on workplace inspections, fatalities and major injury rates are rising.
In 2001-2 the average frequency of workplace inspections was once every seven years. Figures for 2006 in the Hazards report suggest this has dropped to once in 13 years.