Leading occupational health and safety academic speaks to the Tusker to make sure his assessment of Scottish Government’s better performance is not concealed just as the Herald does it

The Herald wins giant fib of the year award!

Speaking to us today, Professor Andrew Watterson of the Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group at the University of Stirling, said:

My assessment is that the Scottish Government has done better than the UK Government on dealing with COVID-19 and that Test and Protect is a better system for protecting workers than the one operating in England. Also the SG consultation with workers through TUs, their recognition of the role of roving TU safety reps in dealing with COVID and their willingness to involve workers and others in developing guidance for a safe return to work after the lockdown reveals far better practice than that of the UK government. Of course the SG made mistakes – often due to early following of UK lead – but far fewer than Westminster and if budgets and powers for worker health and safety had rested with Scotland and not with the UK Government,  as it is still a matter reserved to Westminster, they would have done even better.

You can see above, how Tom Gordon’s report in the Herald has turned a series of failings by the UK Health and Safety Executive into an apparent failure by the Scottish Government. Gordon seems not to have spoken to Professor Watterson. Health and safety law is reserved to the UK Government and is the same across Great Britain.

8 thoughts on “Leading occupational health and safety academic speaks to the Tusker to make sure his assessment of Scottish Government’s better performance is not concealed just as the Herald does it

  1. I hadn’t thought about H&S law being reserved power to Westminster, but of course that impacts hugely on Scotland’s management of this terrible crisis for our country. How scary that the country next door controls not just Scotland’s ‘budget’, pocket money they send back after taking massive revenues and resources, but stuff like health and safety. I know the reserved powers are far more in number to devolved powers, it is though very concerning when those powers can be used against the best interests of our country of Scotland, and even used to cause damage, at will.

    When is the independence referendum being held remind me?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hetty

      In “The Violence of Austerity” Steve Tombs describes some of the effects of the UK government running down the numbers and reducing the effectiveness of the HSE.

      Up to 50,000 deaths are “brought forward” each year by air pollution.

      The Food Standards Agency estimates that there are around a million casses of foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in 500 deaths and 20,000 hospital admissions.

      There are around 50,000 deaths in Britain each year caused by working.


  2. “Gordon seems not to have spoken”—–

    I think Gordon will speak daily, hourly, by the minute to Dover House and Melville Crescent, home of Hi Jack and the rest of the Boris Brigade.
    There will also now be a Hot Line linking him with Wee Dougie.
    “Whistle, and I’ll come to ye, my lad” is the new ring tone for the Herod, Hootsmon, BBC Hootenanny et al.

    See we have a new heid yin at the BEEB. From Norn Iron I believe. His Paw was a scribbler for the Belfast Torygraft, an outlet for all things Unionist and Orange. We arra people right enough!

    The sun never sets!


  3. Finally read the article, and beyond the misleading headline he also says “…the Scottish Government’s over-reliance on the UK Health and Safety Executive…”, as if SG has any choice in the matter.

    To be fair, he does go on to make the point that lack of devolved powers is the bottleneck, and cover ending “private-sector occupational health services which can be distrusted by staff”, both of which are London issues.


    1. “He goes on to make the point . . . . ” Is that at the end of the article where only a small percentage of readers ever get to.


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