Workers’ Memorial Day (Monday 28 April) should prompt the Scottish government to better protect the health and safety of people in the workplace and the families affected by workplace fatalities through urgent reform of the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) system.
Unite has been at the forefront of the campaign for the introduction of changes to the existing legislation as proposed by Patricia Ferguson’s Inquiries into Deaths (Scotland) Bill which is currently before the Scottish parliament.
The proposals place more focus on the interests of victim’s families, to tackle the delay and transparency problems associated with the FAI process and perhaps most importantly, create scope for a Sheriff’s determinations to be legally enforced to tackle unsafe working practices.
In 2012/13, 22 people were killed at work in Scotland, an increase on the 2011/12 figure of 19 workplace fatalities, while over 1,840 people suffered major work-related injuries according to HSE Scotland.
Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said, “The Scottish government has been quick to advocate reform of our justice system but slow on the uptake to improve laws surrounding workplace health and safety – it can and should be doing more.
“The full and urgent implementation of Patricia Ferguson’s Bill would be significant step forward in protecting the right to life in Scottish workplaces by identifying and enforcing changes to unsafe working practices, while defending the interests of victims’ families in a much more humane manner in the worst case scenario.
“The recent determinations of the FAI into the April 2009 offshore helicopter fatalities and the continued delay of an essential FAI into the deaths of the crewmen on the Flying Phantom tug in December 2007 should focus the hearts and minds of the Scottish government.
“An increase in workplace fatalities between 2011/12 and 2012/13 is frankly scandalous as no-one should be going to work and not returning home to their loved ones when the job is done.
“On Workers’ Memorial Day not only do we remember the dead but we must collectively intensify our efforts to protect the living.”
The STUC has arranged a number of Workers’ Memorial Day events throughout Scotland on Monday 28 April, see the full list here.:
For further information please contact Peter Welsh on 07810 157931.
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.