New ETUC research reveals that safety inspections have been cut by a fifth since 2010, falling from 2.2 million annual visits to 1.7 million. Numbers fell in at least 17 countries, including in Germany where 232,000 fewer visits were made in 2018 compared to 2010 and Portugal where checks were cut in half over the same period. Over the same period the number of labour inspectors across Europe fell by more than 1000. Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, Romania and Croatia all saw inspections fall by 35%, with the average fall across the EU at 18%. The ETUC argues that the major cut in labour inspections over the last decade left workplaces less prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic. It is calling for Covid-19 to be recognised as an occupational disease, for full enforcement of workplace health and safety rules through more and tougher labour inspections, and better protection and resources for the inspectors carrying them out.
ETUC reveals drastic fall in safety inspections
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National trade union confederations are keeping the ETUC up-to-date with what trade unions and labour inspectorates are doing to ensure safety at the workplace in response to COVID-19 and, in particular, in relation to the return to work. In Austria, 20% of inspected workplaces have been told to improve their safety procedures while the Danish FH confederation reports some problems in private clinics and healthcare and it has taken action to ensure that health and social care facilities are fully part of the inspection regime. In Ireland more inspectors have been taken on to cope with