Unite is urging the Scottish government to back legislative proposals that could provide essential reform of the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) process ahead of a crucial parliamentary debate tomorrow (Thursday 26th September).
The debate - brought forward by Richard Baker MSP in support of Patricia Ferguson MSP’s ‘Inquiries into Deaths (Scotland) Bill’ - takes place amidst the scandalous delay of the FAI into the April 2009 Super Puma crash off the Aberdeenshire coast where sixteen offshore workers lost their lives and last month’s helicopter ditching off Shetland where four more workers perished.
Unite believes these events should compel the Scottish government to urgently adopt the Bill’s proposals which specifically calls for the FAI process to be speeded up and for the judge’s recommendations based on the FAI findings to be legally enforceable.
Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said, “Twenty fatalities over the last four years as a result of offshore helicopter crashes in the North Sea should compel the Scottish government to support Patricia Ferguson’s proposals and bring them into law as soon as possible.
“The current process is simply not fit for purpose and we only need to consider the prolonged agony of the families affected by the 2009 Super Puma crash who, over four years on, are still waiting for the FAI to get underway.
“It’s also unacceptable that the recommendations of the FAI cannot be legally enforced, leaving workers reliant on the voluntarism of employers to implement what could be live-saving changes to the working environment – it’s a toothless process in its current guise and this must change too.
“We warmly welcome Patricia and Richard’s efforts to bring this issue to parliament, particularly as a crucial component in the wider campaign for UK offshore health and safety reform.
“Adopting this Bill would represent a step forward for civil justice in Scotland and would also show that the Scottish government is serious about helping offshore workers get back home safe in the future.”
Notes to editors: For further information please contact Peter Welsh, Unite Scotland communications, on 07810157931.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.