no embargo - 2 July 2009 ( Back to news releases)
FACK statement on the release of ICL report to Ministers
“To treat this explosion as a tragic accident focusing narrowly on the LPG issues, would be to do a massive disservice to all workers and their families in Scotland and the rest of the UK, would be a gross misspending of public funds, and a tragic wasted opportunity to contribute to a major improvement in workplace health and safety in Scotland which has a worse record than other parts of the country.” Said Hilda Palmer, facilitator of FACK.
Five years on from the ICL Explosion which killed 9 people and injured many more, Lord Gill’s report of the Public Inquiry has been delivered to Ministers – Yvette Cooper, the Secretary of Sec of State for Work and Pensions and Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Secretary for the Scottish Government. The joint press release quoting the two ministers, released yesterday (1), referred only to measures to improve handling of LPG and thanks to Lord Gill on behalf of the families before they have had any sight of the report.
A FACK spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on the report as it has not yet been published and of course we would expect that out of sheer courtesy and common decency that the families of those killed and injured will be given the opportunity to see the report as soon as possible and before any conclusions are drawn. Once again it seems that the families who paid the ultimate price for an employers negligence are the last to be informed, adding considerable insult to the injury they have suffered.
“We are surprised that Kenny MacAskill is commenting on behalf of the families none of whom have had sight of the report, let alone time to read and digest it and to see if it does in fact answer their questions. FACK campaigns for better health and safety, and we will all be extremely disappointed if a Public Inquiry, costing all of us as tax payers hundreds of thousands of pounds, has only come up with the need to improve LPG safety, something that could have, and should have, been done urgently once the HSE investigation revealed the issue of corroding pipes and the risk posed to lives at the time, not 5 years later!
“We supported families of those killed in the explosion, in demanding a full and detailed Public Inquiry. This is essential to the families but also to the wider public interest in workplace health and safety. We wanted the Inquiry to reveal the underlying causes of the LPG explosion at ICL Plastics, and this involves issues around governance and the management of H&S and the culture that was developed by the directors and their style of management, and also crucially an examination of the roles and actions of the regulatory bodies, especially the HSE in securing the employers compliance with legal duties. There is a wider public and worker interest as these key issues concern the way in which H&S is managed in workplaces and the role of the HSE in regulating and enforcing that health and safety so that workers can go to work and come home safely, as was sadly not the case for the ICL workers or many others in Scottish workplaces..
“For all workers to be safe at work requires that the lessons of what went wrong, how it went wrong, how employers were able to create a culture that acted against H&S, how they disregarded workers concerns; how the HSE, as the enforcement agency, discharged its regulatory duties, how the HSE reacted to the whistle blower, and how the HSE’s interventions failed to prevent this appalling incident. The key issues are covered in the ICL Stockline Disaster Report (2)
“We fervently hope the comments from the two ministers are not reflective of the whole report and we expect the report to have a detailed critique of all these key issues, and specific and far reaching recommendations for employers and for the HSE in how it should better comply with its enforcement brief.”
For more information contact Hilda Palmer 0161 636 7557
2. ICL Stockline Disaster Report by Stathclyde and Stirling Universities independent academics, and other news at: http://www.hazards.org/deadlybusiness/whydidtheydie.htm and http://www.hazards.org/icldisaster/news.htm