Charter for rogue employers

Work injury decision a charter for rogue employers

Prospect has condemned a government decision that will make it harder for workers to claim legitimate compensation for injuries at work.

Last month the House of Lords rejected the detrimental changes to civil liability laws in relation to health and safety duties. These had been put forward by the government as an amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform bill.

But on Tuesday night the Commons voted by 316 to 241 to overturn the Lords vote and reinstate the change to the law.

The effect is that workers would be unable to rely on an employer's breach of health and safety law to win a personal injury claim. Instead they would have to prove negligence.

Prospect health and safety officer Sarah Page said: "The Government's proposals to remove civil liability from breaches of health and safety law will make it harder, if not impossible, for people with legitimate claims to be compensated.

"It signals Victorian neglect for injured workers and plays to rogue employers, who will willingly leave our already overstretched health services to pick up the pieces. This is a miserable decision by a Government that is spinning the myth of a compensation culture which even its own advisors have said doesn't exist."

The government has argued that its change arose out of a recommendation in Professor Ragnar Löfstedt's review last November. However, Prospect and others opposing the government's proposals say it has gone much further than Löfstedt recommended. See more about this on the TUC website.

Prospect represents more than 1,600 inspectors and specialists in the Health and Safety Executive and Office for Nuclear Regulation.