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New figures showing an increase in the number of people dying on construction sites in the UK have prompted calls for a reversal in cuts at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The number of work-related deaths in the last financial year was 241, compared with 217 in the previous 12 months, new data from the Health and Safety Commission shows.

Of these, 77 were in the construction industry.

Such a rise has prompted concern that the HSE is under-resourced in its job of ensuring employers follow health and safety procedures correctly, which may include issues concerning the provision and use of personal protection equipment.

Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber said that proposed cuts in HSE staffing levels should be reversed by the government to ensure rules were being adhered to.

He said: 'With employers only likely to get a visit from a safety inspector once every 11-20 years, it is still far too easy for them to risk the safety of their workers without fear of getting caught.'

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