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Date: Friday 25 April 2014

A change in culture to health and safety could save over 20 lives per year, says UNISON Scotland

UNISON is marking Workers Memorial Day, which takes place all over the world on 28 April, by calling on UK and Scottish governments to do more to make work place deaths and injuries completely unacceptable.

UNISON cite the change in attitudes to smoking or drink driving as examples of how we can change attitudes to work placed injury and death

If we could get that culture change then fewer workers would be put at risk and their families would not suffer the emotional and financial impact that follows.

Scott Donohoe, chair of UNISON health and safety committee said, “We need a change in culture in how we see health and safety at work. It’s too easy for politicians of all parties to reduce red tape. We need to remind them that red tape includes health and safety regulations which save lives. In 2013, 22 deaths and 1800 major injuries could have been avoided in Scottish workplaces if, so called, red tape was followed properly.

The cuts mean workers are being asked to do more and we are seeing more psycho-social problems and stress related illness. If we roll back on red tape now, at first we may not notice any difference, but it will lead to increasingly dangerous and unhealthy workplaces.”

UNISON Scotland will be marking International Workers Memorial Day at the STUC remembrance ceremony at 12pm on 28 April, at The Peoples Palace, in Glasgow.

ENDS

Notes to editors

UNISON Scotland is the largest trade union in Scotland
International Workers Memorial Day is a world event which takes place on 28 April every year. More information can be found here https://www.unison.org.uk/events/iwmd-2014
STUC events for International Workers Memorial Day taking place across Scotland. More details can be found here http://www.stuc.org.uk/campaigns-and-external-events/international-workers-memorial-day
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has stated that 70% of deaths are dues to poor management.
The latest information from Health and Safety Executive, for Scotland, can be seen here http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/regions/scotland.pdf
The headlines from the Health and Safety in Scotland report show that in 2012/13
· Fatal injuries: there were 22 fatal injuries to workers.

· Major injuries: there were 1,843 major injuries to employees.

· Over sevenday injuries: there were 4,853 over seven day injuries to employees.

· Injury rates: the rate of injury for fatal and major injuries was 83.4 per 100 000 employees, compared with a GB rate of 78.9. The rate of injury for over seven day injuries was 218.2 per 100 000 employees, compared with a GB rate of 233.1.

The number of HSE inspections of UK workplaces has fallen by 50% the last 10 years, with 35% of the amount being cut from the Health & Safety Executive’s budget over three years
8. More information on UNISON’s campaign is here http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/safety/wmd.html



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