Wednesday 16 March 2016

Can The Health & Safety Executive Be Trusted?

Last May an eight year old boy called Ciaran Williamson died after a 6ft gravestone fell on him while he and his friends were playing in Craigton Cemetery.

The easy question to answer is what were the kids doing playing in a graveyard? The answer is simple - kids play where they want to play. They are inquisitive, they seek adventure, and they don't see the same dangers and risks we adults do.

The more difficult question to answer is how did they manage to get in to the cemetery in the first place and why weren't they spotted and thrown out before any harm was done to them or the graveyard?

Was there a lack of oversight and security on the part of the cemetery owners?

What we do know though is that the tragedy prompted Glasgow City Council to review more than 30,000 gravestones across Glasgow. So there would seem to be some sort of issue or concern on the safety/security front.

As you can imagine, the family would like these questions answered. If your eight year old died you'd want answers too. So the family are calling on the Crown office to hold a Fatal Accident Enquiry.

But strangely enough, there has already been an investigation in to this case.

The Health and Safety Executive submitted a confidential report to the Procurator Fiscal in September last year and a spokeswoman from the HSE is quoted as saying “Ciaran died on the 26th May 2015 and we reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service at the end of September with a recommendation for no criminal proceedings in relation to the death.

In case you missed a wee important word in the paragraph above let me put it in bold italics for you: "The Health and Safety Executive submitted a confidential report to the Procurator Fiscal"


Why confidential?

Mmmmm. Why would the Health and Safety Executive want to keep their report to the Crown office a secret from us?

Could it be that their buddies in Glasgow City Council - who legislate for the HSE - could be sued by the family if this was a HSE matter and Glasgow City Council were deemed to be responsible in some way for the tragedy?

What if Glasgow City Council hadn't maintained the gravestones properly? What if Glasgow City Council hadn't provided adequate security around the perimeter of the graveyard to stop kids getting in? What if Glasgow City Council hadn't provided adequate security within the graveyard to catch and turf out any unauthorised persons who do get in there?

That's a lot of 'what ifs'.

And there's an even bigger 'what if'.

What if the Health & Safety Executive wrote this secret confidential report to the Crown office advising them not to take action against Glasgow City Council in order to protect their friends in Glasgow City Council from being sued?

Surely that couldn't happen, could it?

I mean, just for example, if a Glasgow City Council bin lorry was to, say, kill 6 people, you wouldn't get the HSE meeting with the police and Crown office the next day advising them NOT to treat it as a HSE issue but a road traffic accident in order to keep Glasgow City Council out the frame and protect them from being sued by the families for employing the driver in the first place?

Nah, that's so far-fetched it's ridiculous - that could never happen.