The Scottish Affairs Committee announced on 04 April 2011 that it has launched a new inquiry into health and safety in Scotland. The Committee is particularly interested in the effectiveness of regulation in Scotland relative to England and Wales, whether resources are appropriately targeted and how any reduction in human resources might impact the HSE north of the border.

 The announcement of the inquiry comes after the National Audit Office reported that the cost of workplace accidents north of the border was about £187 million in 2010. The HSE also reported in March 2011 that one in five construction sites in Scotland were so dangerous that lives were being put at risk. Three construction workers died in Scotland during 2009/10 and the sector experienced more than 1,100 injuries.

It has been suggested that the higher rate of workplace deaths and serious injuries in Scotland relative to other parts of the UK may be because of the nature of Scotland’s economy – a greater proportion of Scotland’s workers are employed in high-risk industries such as agriculture. The Committee is welcoming written submissions from interested parties until Thursday 16 June 2011. The details of public oral evidence sessions will be announced in due course.