Following the release of the annual report on workplace injury and ill-health by the Health and Safety Executive the STUC has called for the Government to reverse it attacks on the HSE and provide resources for the enforcement agency to do its work without Government interference.
Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said
“It is clear from these statistics that the 40% funding cuts imposed by the coalition Government on HSE along with their unwarranted ideological attacks on workplace health and safety by the Government and certain sections of the media are having an impact in Scotland.
“Scotland continues to have the highest fatal injury rate across the United Kingdom with 20 workers losing their lives as a result of incidents at work. However it should be remembered this does not include either the many hundreds who have lost their lives as a result of occupational disease such as mesothelioma and other occupational cancers or other workers killed in work related road traffic accidents or work related suicides.
“It would also appear that enforcement and prosecution in Scotland is lagging behind the rest of the United Kingdom. While the number of offences prosecuted across Britain has remained relatively stable over the last five years in Scotland there has been a significant fall from 108 in 2008/09 to 27 in the year to April this year.
“We believe this is due to lack of proactive inspections, a policy forced on the HSE by a Government who refuse to acknowledge the need of the HSE to be autonomous, a position that undermines the role of the HSE as an independent regulator.
“The fact that Scotland continues to be the place where you are at greater risk of being killed at work and have a higher than average chance of being made ill or injured by work is something that needs to be addressed, not just by the UK Government but also by the Scottish Government and this report and Scotland’s statistics should be debated by the Scottish Parliament”.
For Further Information contact Ian Tasker 0141 337 8100