Government plans to change workplace law are a license for rogue bosses to let safety standards fall.
National not-for-profit group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) is lobbying for a Government amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to be dropped as it is debated in the House of Lords today.
“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 him was at fault,” explained APIL president Karl Tonks, who specialises in employers’ liability cases. “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. The injured person, who has none of this knowledge at his fingertips will have to gather the evidence himself to prove his case and the odds will be completely stacked against him, where now the law is fair and looks after the vulnerable individual,” said Mr Tonks.
“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,” Tonks went on. “This is effectively a license 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.
Mr Tonks estimates that the proposals would affect 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.”