Construction union Ucatt has slammed the Bob Whincap, the President of the National Access and ScaffoldingConfederation, for safety comments made in a newspaper interview.Taking about the industry to a trade paper Whinchap said: “There is a health and safety Gestapo out there and if thereis the minutest risk of something happening it will be eliminated and the problem is you can’t build.”
It is a view that would have great deal of support, albeit unspoken, within the industry.
Alan Ritchie, the union’s general secretary said: “Mr Whincapp’s views are deeply disturbing. He paints an entirelyunrealistic picture of health and safety. On many sites health and safety barely exists. It is a pity that someonein his position, a figurehead for the industry, appears to be more concerned about cutting corners thanensuring the safety of workers.”
The union claims the number of inspections being undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive has fallen dramaticallyin recent years. Last year, it says, research by the Centre for Corporate Accountability found that followingthe report of a major injury (fractures, amputations, asphyxiations, burns, electrocutions and blindness) inconstruction just 14.1% of such cases were formally investigated by the HSE.