Workplace Deaths: Scotland

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:11 pm on 24th July 2019.

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Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 4:11 pm, 24th July 2019

It is a real pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Buck. I thank Hugh Gaffney for securing the debate. He spoke with real passion on a subject on which he has campaigned tirelessly for a number of years.

On 3 July, the annual workplace fatality figures for 2018-19 were published. Sadly, they showed an increase in workplace deaths in Scotland—particularly in agriculture, which is a tragedy for everyone involved, including family members and friends left behind. My sympathies and thoughts are with them. As the release of the statistics each year shows, we must continue to strive to do better. I welcome many of the constructive suggestions that the hon. Gentleman made.

Great Britain consistently has one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries in Europe and is recognised as among the best performers for occupational safety and health worldwide. Our health and safety system combines goal-setting legislation and a risk-based approach to health and safety management, to enable businesses to assess and control the risks relevant to them. That allows health and safety controls to adapt as work processes and practices change, and it enables risk management to keep pace with technological change.

Businesses know that effective health and safety management allows for innovation, enhances productivity and enables growth. That, combined with Great Britain’s long-established tripartite approach of businesses, workers and Government working together, has established our world-class health and safety record. However, we must not become complacent. We must continue to work with all involved to secure lasting improvements.