Deep cuts to health and safety spending are hitting workplaces across the country amid the Government's "damaging spin" over the monitoring of workers' well-being, a union claimed today.
Prospect, the union for engineers and scientists, said there were only three occupational physicians and 18 occupational health inspectors in the Health and Safety Executive, down from 60 of each in the 1990s.
Speaking at the TUC Congress in Brighton, Sue Ferns, the union's head of research, said there was now only one inspector dealing with radiation issues for every 30,000 workers.
"These cuts are occurring just as the Government proposes to emasculate employers' obligation to report occupational health absences from diseases such as mesothelioma, skin cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury under regulations.
"That would remove the bulk of the intelligence guiding the work of hygiene and occupational health inspectors, and deprive lay health and safety representatives of information essential for them to monitor workplace health."
Prospect said it had dozens of examples where its members countered the Government's spin on health and safety.
The Prime Minister was accused of pledging to tackle a so-called health and safety "monster".