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November 6, 2008

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Union attacks Government for under-funding HSE

Unite has hit out at the Government for under-funding the HSE after a new report by the union showed that investigations into major injuries had almost halved since 2001.

The report suggests that major injury investigations have decreased by 43-per-cent between 2001 and 2007. It also reveals that there has been a 69-per-cent reduction in the number of ‘over three-day’ injuries investigated, and a 31-per-cent fall in ‘dangerous occurrences’ investigations.

The trade union believes the reduction in investigations is due to a lack of resources in the HSE rather than a decrease in the number of incidents reported. The group is now demanding the Government provides extra funding to allow the HSE to employ additional inspectors to handle the need for investigation.

Unite joint general secretary, Derek Simpson, said: “This report highlights the need for the Government to address the problem accordingly, and admit that the HSE needs more money, more resources, and more inspectors. The significant reductions in the level of investigations and prosecutions, together with less HSE inspectors, goes to the heart of the question of levels of adequate HSE resources.”

The report also claims that the HSE, owing to its limited resources, should place more emphasis on investigations rather than inspections. The report states: “Conducting investigations will have far more impact in terms of accountability, and ensuring that those who cause injury through high levels of negligence are brought to account.”

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