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STUC 2014 Dundee

Call for Scottish Health and Safety Executive

Willie Docherty
Willie Docherty

The STUC backed a call from Edinburgh TUC for the devolution of all of the functions of the Health and Safety executive in Scotland to be devolved to Scotland.

"This is a recognition of the fact that the HSE deals with many bodies which are already devolved", said UNISON's Willie Docherty supporting the motion.

"It would also allow for the operations and priorities of the HSE in Scotland be more fully focussed on the particular circumstances and structure of Scottish industry."

Edinburgh TUC also called for an independent body to address workplace risk. The motion called for a partnership between employers, unions, enforcers, local councils, government and workplace health professionals to "protect and promote the health of working people."

Statistics show that our rate of fatal accidents at work is amongst the highest of the UK, partly due to jobs in heavy industry, and historically the rate of prosecutions is lower.

"Devolution would allow for a specific focus on our specific problems – it would assist in the many interactions with other bodies who operate at a Scottish level... from those concerned with environmental and public health as well as prosecutors", said Willie.

"Not that it should concern us unduly but this motion is in line with political thinking outside this hall – if there is a vote for independence then we would have a Scottish HSE.

"And in their recent devolution proposals the Labour Party have agreed with suggestions from UNISON, and other STUC affiliates that there Should be a Scottish Health and Safety Executive."

Willie told delegates: "We should never lose sight of the fact that, vital though an effective regulatory regime is, the real driver of health and Safety at work is the presence of active and informed trade union safety reps in the workplace. That said – this would help."

Date 14 April 2014

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