Ardeer Girls

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd September 2022.

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Photo of Clare Adamson Clare Adamson Scottish National Party

I beg members’ indulgence as I am about to make a long intervention.

I was not a cartridge hut girl, but I worked in Ardeer. I was there for a year as part of my degree and I worked at the Nobel site. I remember it well. I have been sitting here thinking about all the things that I could not take into the workplace, such as phones, hair clasps and jewellery. I had to change almost my entire appearance before walking into the site. The health and safety message was very strong at that time.

I have been absolutely enthralled by the debate, and I thank Jack Dickson for his work.

I also remember that one of the final innovations at Ardeer was on safety detonators, which would have made mining much safer because they would have prevented some accidental detonations. I was struck at the time by the fact that that product did not really take off because, in areas of the world outside the UK, workers’ safety was not considered to be a priority in mining. Although we know that things have improved here, we have a sense of international solidarity and cannot fail to recognise that safety in other parts of the world is as bad as, if not worse than, some of the conditions that we had here.

Jack Dickson’s play and the work that has been done in the community show that we can never take safety for granted. The Piper Alpha disaster has been mentioned. We must never take for granted the strides that have been taken to make workplaces safer. I am the convener of the cross-party group on accident prevention and safety awareness and I would not want to say anything other than how important it is to value workers’ safety and to strive to make workplaces safer. [