The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) has given a cautious welcome to the news this morning that workplace fatalities have fallen significantly in Scotland. The HSE have released figures for the year to 31 March 2011 showing that fatal injuries at work have fallen from 23 in 2009/10 to 15 this year.
Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said
“Obviously, such a significant reduction is welcome but the challenge we issue to employers in Scotland is to ensure that they take every step to ensure that this reduction is sustainable and not just a one off.
“In 2003 only 12 workers lost their lives in workplace accidents but tragically this figure nearly trebled the following year with 9 workers being killed in one incident, the ICL Plastics factory explosion in Maryhill.
“We must remember that, in Scotland, many hundreds of other workers lose their lives as a result of mesothelioma and other occupational cancers and diseases as well as in occupational road traffic accidents.
“The Government must not use this welcome news as justification for their decision to cut resources for the HSE, or to continue their crusade to meet the demands of the business lobby to cut health and safety laws or to suggest that this is vindication of their savage attack on the budgets of the HSE and funding of other bodies carrying out health and safety enforcement.
“To continue with this attack will mean less workplace inspections, greater complacency as employers take a false sense of security from less regulated workplaces and we would warn against placing the health and safety of workers in Scotland and across the UK at greater risk.
“As a result we would doubt, but genuinely hope, that that this reduction can be repeated.”
For further information contact Ian Tasker t0141 337 8100