Amendment to Government Bill "Stacks Odds Against Workers"
LONDON, January 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Campaigners for workplace safety are lobbying the Government to drop a proposed amendment to a Bill which they say would effectively give unscrupulous employers a licence to let safety standards fall.
Karl Tonks, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) said the amended 'Clause 61' of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill - to be debated in the House of Lords today (Monday 14 January) - would stack the odds against injured workers in their fight for justice. APIL is lobbying for the amendment, which details civil liability for breach of health and safety duties, to be dropped.
"The Government is trying to overturn 100 years of legal procedure by making the injured worker have to provide all the evidence to prove that the employer who's injured them was at fault," explained Karl, a partner and head of the specialist Employers' Liability department at Fentons Solicitors. "This is grossly unfair as it tilts the playing field in favour of negligent bosses.
"Employers always have the upper hand as they are the ones who control the workplace and the work equipment, and who hold all the information about what systems they have in place," he said. "The injured person, who has none of this knowledge at their fingertips, will have to gather the evidence for themselves to prove a case and the odds will be completely stacked against them, where now the law is fair and looks after the vulnerable individual.
"Many people will be put off altogether from making genuine claims for the compensation they may desperately need to get back on their feet, as the fight will be so difficult," he said. "This is effectively a licence for negligent employers to avoid their health and safety responsibilities. And, if the guilty party does not make proper recompense, the state will have to foot the bill for medical care and other support," he added.
Karl said that it was estimated the proposals would affect around 70,000 cases in Great Britain.
"There were more than 111,000 workplace injuries in Britain between 2011 and 2012," he said. "We certainly don't want to see any more."
How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling accident at work claims and industrial diseases.