The number of unannounced visits from Health & Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors to construction sites fell once again last year, with a drop of 4%.

In total, 2015/16 saw 9,219 construction site inspections, in comparison with 9,656 the previous year.

Over the last three years, the number of inspections carried out by the HSE has fallen by 13% as 2012/13 saw the group make 10,577 inspections.

The reduced number of inspections has come at a time when the construction sector is expanding on the whole and is booming in some parts of the UK. Therefore, the total number of sites that have been inspected has seen a significant reduction.

Most UK regions saw a reduction in the number inspections over the course of the last year, with the South East seeing the biggest decline, where last year inspections fell by 26% and in the previous two years by 20%.

The acting general secretary of the construction union UCATT, Brian Rye, said that these figures give a serious indication of how the HSE is finding it increasingly difficult to fulfil its requirements due to a starvation of resources.

He said that lives, health and well being of construction workers are being endangered by the reduced number of inspections, which are conducted to prevent accidents and save lives.

Last month, HSE leaders urged HGV drivers to adhere to basic safety procedures by applying parking brakes and using warning alarms after a 20-year-old worker was killed on site last year.

Dale Pentney, a road worker, was crushed by an HGV tractor unit after it suddenly rolled backwards as the driver delivered materials for A21 road repairs in Kent, resulting in a suspended prison sentence for the driver.

Following the incident, Melvyn Stancliffe, HSE inspector, said that the accident was completely avoidable and that companies must ensure that workers follow safety procedures to the letter.