The number of unannounced construction inspections being undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive continued to drop last year according to construction union UCATT.
In 2015/16 there was a total of 9,219 inspections compared to 9,656 in 2014/15, a decrease of 4%.
The number of construction inspections has been declining steadily in recent years with figures revealing that in three years the number of inspections has fallen by 13%.
Most regions in the UK saw a decline in inspections in 2015/16. The biggest drop was in the South East where inspections fell by 26% which comes on top of a 19.6% reduction in the previous two years.
Other regions to record declines in 2015/16 were: Wales 18%, Eastern 13%, Yorkshire 13%, North East 10%, West Midlands 7% and London 5%.
Brian Rye, Acting General Secretary, of construction union UCATT, said: “These statistics are far from meaningless. They paint a serious picture of how a resource starved HSE is increasingly unable to do its job.”
Mr Rye added: “Inspections save lives and prevent accidents. The reduction in inspections is endangering the lives, health and wellbeing of construction workers. This is a political decision by the Government which have decided that it is financially justified to play fast and loose with the safety of construction workers.”