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13 November 2014, 06:06
Companies should be charged with culpable homicide if corner-cutting and risky practices lead to loss of life, according to Scottish Labour leadership candidate Neil Findlay.
The former bricklayer has called for devolution of employment regulations to Scotland to enable the creation of a Scottish health and safety executive and a corporate culpable homicide act.
In a speech to the conference of the Scottish Hazards Campaign in Glasgow, Mr Findlay is expected to say: "Having spent years out working on building sites I know that health and safety isn't an add-on - it can be a matter of life and death.
"The long-term pattern of more death and serious injury at work in Scotland shows the need for an approach to health and safety more attuned to the specifics of industry and work in Scotland.
"It's a sensible move which will have administration of a vital component of working life administered at a Scottish level.
"So, we need to create a Scottish health and safety enforcement body that is adequately resourced, that has sufficient staff in place to do its work and is restored back to the status and resources it had before the recent attacks by the Con-Dem coalition.
"We need to introduce a corporate culpable homicide act that gives the families of victims a genuine possibility of justice through prosecutions of unscrupulous employers who put lives at risk, thus ensuring that the law serves as a deterrent to corner-cutting and risky practices from employers.
"We need to bolster local authority spending and activity in health and safety, and create a more coherent health and safety enforcement and regulation system in Scotland.
"And we need to reform the fatal accident inquiry system and ensure it responds quicker to help bring justice to families and friends of workers involved in fatal accidents.''
Mr Findlay is the trade unions' favourite to succeed Johann Lamont as Labour leader, with transport union RMT and the Musicians' Union joining Unison, Unite, GMB, UCATT, ASLEF, TSSA , NUM and CWU with their backing last night.
He faces opposition from MP Jim Murphy and fellow MSP Sarah Boyack in the leadership race.