Some agree with the Goverment's plans to shrink the HSE, others argue that this is directly responsible for the increase in construction deaths.
After her husband Keiron was killed in a construction accident in 2004, Jennifer Deeney went to work for the HSE in the hope of preventing more tragedy. What she found was a chronic shortage of staff; in a recent interview with The Independent, she said "there just aren't enough inspectors to do the jobs. There are huge abuses going on that they can't look into. It's not their fault, it's the Government's."
It's a view that certainly seems to have creedence when one examines the numbers: The Government has already axed 250 employees of the HSE, with another 300 scheduled for termination by 2008. Meanwhile, around 80 construction workers per year (and steadily rising) are dying, with many many more suffering horrific injuries in the workplace. Alan Ritchie of UCATT has said "It's not rocket science to realise that if you implement a rigorous inspection and enforcement regime, sites will become safer. If you sit back and do nothing, deaths will increase."
There is of course, an opposing perspective - that the HSE is overprotective to the point of detriment to the industry, seeing them labelled as everything from "clipboard-wielding nannies" to beaurocratic Nazis.
What's your opinion?