A new business plan published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed that government funding will be nearly half of what it was in 2010 by 2020.

As part of their 2016/17 business plan, the HSE projects that funding from the Department of Working Pensions (DWP) will decrease every year until 2019/20.

By 2019/20, the HSE is projected to receive an annual budget of just over £123 million from the government, 46% less than the £231 million provided in 2009/10. The current annual budget for the HSE is £141 million.

Earlier this year, the HSE published six key themes for its five-year health and safety strategy, including tackling the costs of work-related ill health and simplifying risk management within business.

According to the HSE, 611,000 people were injured at work and 142 people were killed at work during 2014/15. There were 1.2 million working people suffering from a work-related illness during the same period.

Gerard Stilliard, head of the personal injury team at Thompsons Solicitors said: “Since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act some 40 years ago, the UK has been one of the safest places to work, and the HSE plays a vital role in maintaining that record.

“Through our decades of experience working with victims of accidents at work and industrial illness, we have witnessed the human cost of poor workplace health and safety, and real terms cuts like these are hugely worrying.

“Such extensive cuts will only make it harder for the HSE to continue their work promoting better workplace health and safety standards and enforcing the law. Unless the present government believes that all employers are good employers and the answer is self-regulation, the cuts are incredibly short sighted and the risk is that they have grave consequences for workers’ safety.”