STUC welcomes Government Response to Gill Inquiry

March 18th 2010

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) has welcomed the Department for Work and Pensions response to the inquiry by Lord Gill into the ICL explosion in Glasgow on May 2004 that led to the deaths of 9 workers and over 30 colleagues suffering major injuries.

Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said

“The STUC has supported the families of those killed in this tragedy, a tragedy that could easily have been avoided. It is commendable that, despite their own loss, the families have always made it clear that they are determined that no other families should face the pain and suffering that they have had to endure.

“I am sure that the families will welcome the comments regarding improved and more effective enforcement addressing a shortcoming in this particular case that the HSE have already acknowledged as falling short of their normal standards.

“Equally, the work already underway to replace buried piping will also significantly reduce the risk of another tragedy although we should not lose sight of the fact that liquefied petroleum gas is no more dangerous than any other industrial process provided the risks are assessed properly and effective health and safety management practices are in place.

“The STUC also welcomes the stance that the DWP has taken in rejecting Lord Gill’s recommendations on introducing an Independent verification Scheme on LPG contactors and independent audits of LPG risk assessments. The latter causes a particular concern for the trade union movement as employers could seek to blame independent health and safety contractors for their own shortcomings.

“The duty to assess hazardous processes as in all risks at work has to be seen to be on the employer and the introduction of overly bureaucratic independent verification scheme and risk assessment audits would only lead to confusion and allow unscrupulous employers to distance themselves from their legal obligations.”

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