Steve Celebrates 65 years of Safety Group in Merseyside(December 14, 2012)
Walton MP Steve Rotheram has backed a local group helping to promote the importance of health and safety in workplaces across Merseyside.
The former Lord Mayor of Liverpool and avid football supporter was at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground on 15th April 1989 when 96 fans lost their lives and hundreds were injured.
And today, he spoke at an event organised by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Merseyside Branch, to celebrate its 65th birthday, at Liverpool Cricket Club.
He said: “Hillsborough was a deadly example of what happens when health and safety is ignored. The legacy of the 96 is that they changed the culture of football with the introduction of all-seater stadia and in doing so, they made it a safer experience for all men, women and children.”
The Hillsborough Independent Panel Report found that failures in match day policing was the primary factor which led to the tragedy 23 years ago, in which another 766 people were injured.
In the next few days, the High Court will hear an application from the Attorney General to quash the original unsound verdicts of accidental death. It will be the biggest step so far in the courts identifying that Hillsborough was an unsafe ground, without a valid safety certificate, operating outside of the law and a tragedy that should have been avoided.
Mark Thomas, chair of the IOSH Merseyside Branch, said: “It has taken 23 long and hard years, but it appears some justice has finally been delivered to the families of those involved in this health and safety tragedy.
“As a group health and safety professionals in the local area, we believe the Hillsborough tragedy shows the real need for health and safety in helping to protect lives not only at football matches and events, but wherever real risk exists.”
Earlier this year, IOSH issued a warning that sports fans should be seated to watch games at large stadia, as a poll revealed one in three people had been caught up in a crowd surge at a major sporting or music event.
Mr Thomas added: “As the debate continues surrounding the reintroduction of terracing at top-flight football grounds, IOSH still strongly believes terraces should not be reintroduced in Championship and Premier League football.
“Terraces were banned for a reason. Since they were banned, nothing like the horrific scenes we saw during the football disasters of the 80s have ever been seen again.
“While smaller terraces may pose less of a risk, it’s a known fact that it’s safer to sit than stand, especially where large numbers of people are in the same area.”
For six–and-a-half decades the IOSH Merseyside Branch has been dedicated to improving conditions in the workplace in the Merseyside area and will continue to do so into the future.
Steve Rotheram MP added: "The passage of time cannot be an excuse for complacency. While it may be popular for some politicians to belittle health and safety, it's not right. I will continue to campaign hard to make sure that people across Merseyside are as safe as is reasonably practicable in everything that they do.”