I write to express the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) deep concern about your reporting of an interview with me which indicated-that, on the day a public inquiry was later due to report on the ICL Plastics explosion, we had ruled out disciplining any of our staff ("Safety staff avoid discipline over ICL disaster", The Herald, July 16). I spoke to your correspondent about awide range of topics on June 26 and made clear I could not make pre-emptive comments about the explosion ahead of Lord Gill's report. I said in that interview that we accepted errors had been made but, in remarks I did not wish published before the inquiry report was issued, said unless it brought to light any new evidence of which we were unaware, our view was that there would not be a case for disciplinary action against HSE staff. This falls short of the way our conversation was reported and is mis-leading in being silent that the interview took place three weeks previously. Your article misrepresented the HSE as seeking to preempt Lord Gill and as being insensitive to the distress of the bereaved families in denying any responsibility.
Chair, Health and Safety Executive