March 23, 2023

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“That’s the state we’re in now, where the duty holders think that we’re not going to show up.” HSE Inspector on reasons for strike action 

Acting HM Principal Inspector of Health and Safety, Sarah Taylor, reveals why she joined the picket line last week. 

HSE Inspectors

Inspectors, including its construction division, took industrial action on 15 March, the day of the budget, to protest lack of resources and low pay.

A spokesperson for the HSE said that 758 of the 1700 HSE union members voted for the action, the rest abstained, voted against or spoiled the ballot paper.

The union representing HSE Inspectors, Prospect, is asking that workers be given an annual pay rise of at least 2.6% in January. The HSE is currently offering a deal based on hierarchy scales. It is understood that staff at the top of the pay scale would receive only 1.5%, according to

Prospect argues that this will lead to an exodus of experienced staff and compromise the safety of site workers.

Taylor, who has been an inspector for 14 years, says the amount of experienced inspectors leaving is being felt throughout the workforce and is impacting on workload and wellbeing.  “The lack of staff is affecting every aspect of our work…Morale among the inspectors who remain is rock bottom because we’re all so tired. All we can see is more of our experienced colleagues leaving and those of us that remain having to pick up more of the burden,” she wrote in a blog ahead of the strikes.  

On a recent site visit, Taylor spoke to an HS manager genuinely surprised to see her. “I went to inspect a factory in West Yorkshire and when we arrived on site, the health and safety manager said to me and my colleague, “Oh, I didn’t think you came out anymore unless somebody had died?” 

“That was a real eye-opening moment for me. That’s the state we’re in now, where the duty holders think that we’re not going to show up.”

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