Letters 28 May 2004
The Sunday Herald
Your article In Safe Hands? (23 May), featuring an interview between your correspondent and me, ignored and misrepresented many of the key points I had stressed.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation, but it is employers who are responsible for implementing this and making sure the workplace is a safe environment.
HSE works with industries, trade unions and other key players to ensure employers know their responsibilities under the various regulations and also regularly carries out unannounced visits across all industrial sectors to check the requirements are being met.
HSE cannot visit every company, to ensure every regulation is being adhered to and our statutory responsibilities, set by the Government and the Health and Safety Commission, do not require us to do so. This is clearly the employer's responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Your article also discussed the so-called "Scottish anomaly" of proportionately higher injury rates. HSE agrees there is an anomaly and we are working with everyone interested in this area to try to understand it; however, the anomaly involves not just higher rates of certain injuries but also lower rates of reported ill health
Your report failed to serve the truth, whether in relation to the policies of the HSE, the investigation, or my interview with your correspondent.
Health and Safety Executive
Edinburgh EH4 3UE