Iain Gray MSP has backed plans to amend the law of culpable homicide in Scotland and tackle fatal workplace incidents.
Mr Gray has shown his support for the Culpable Homicide (Scotland) Bill that will create new legal avenues for the families of victims killed by recklessness or gross negligence by their employer.
Over the past five years an average of 17 people have died each year in industrial incidents in Scotland, a higher per head of population rate than the UK average. Despite these deaths there has not been a single prosecution under existing legislation in the last decade.
Scotland has experienced a number of high-profile incidents where families failed to receive the justice they deserved. These include the Transco gas explosion in Larkhall that killed a family of four in 1999, the sinking of the Flying Phantom tug in 2007 that killed three members of the crew, and the 2009 Super Puma helicopter crash in the North Sea killing sixteen people.
The bill, lodged by Claire Baker MSP, currently has the support of Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, Scottish Hazards, Thompson’s Solicitors and campaigner Louise Taggart. Louise’s brother died in 2005 as the result of a preventable electrocution at his work.
Showing his support for the proposal, Iain Gray MSP said:
“Far too many people in Scotland each year do not return home to their loved ones after going to work.
“It is simply unacceptable, in the 21st century, to have workers dying as a result of negligence or recklessness by their employers.
“Workers deserve a safe working environment, and families deserve justice if the unthinkable happens.
“Sadly, the law currently does not provide enough protection for workers and that’s why I am supporting the Culpable Homicide Bill to end the scandal of death and injury at work.”
Claire Baker MSP said:
“I am delighted to have the support of Iain Gray MSP.
“Many of the deaths that occur in workplaces are avoidable if health and safety protocols were fully adhered too and risks minimalised. However, too many organisations are still willing to cut corners and put workers lives at risk. We need to ensure that those that do are held accountable.
“My bill would send a clear message to employers that health and safety must be the number one priority for any business and that such deaths will no longer be allowed to occur in the workplace.”