Is common sense returning to Health and Safety?
Are we finally turning a corner in our society’s love affair with the ‘no win, no fee’ compensation culture? A factor which taken alone, has probably done more to damage the actual worth of Health & Safety legislation than any other in recent years.
IOSH – Industry news: A High Court decision that found company insurers should pay out to those who contracted fatal illnesses due to asbestos exposure has been overturned by the Court of Appeal. (Read more)
Although the courts still (rightly) accept employers should be liable for ‘work related injuries’, judges have bravely ruled; contracting mesothelioma (sometimes years after retirement), is no longer considered to be an ‘injury sustained at work’. This appears sensible at the outset however, could this also have implications for coal miners and pneumoconiosis?
Irrespective of the obvious personal and long-term financial implications of ill-health, is it right to expect an employer to pay compensation, especially as the disease was unpredictable in reality? Can it be right that, with the benefit of hindsight (and subsequent advancements in medical science), that our legal system is able to punish an individual (or organization) financially by awarding retrospective compensation? In many of these compensation cases consideration for actual realities appears to have been lacking.
A major reason behind organisations, businesses and local authorities being seen as ‘kill joys’ or the ‘fun police’ is, the incessant and excessive application of ‘control measures’ in the name of Health & Safety. Far too often H&S legislation is (wrongly) cited as the reason why activity can’t be carried out, usually born out of an inherent fear of a financially crippling lawsuit.
Perhaps (finally) we are seeing some common sense breaking through?
- Health and safety review to curb the ‘nanny state’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Health and Safety brigade face crackdown (independent.co.uk)
- Health and safety rethink urged (bbc.co.uk)
- Appeal Court ruling a blow to asbestos victims (telegraph.co.uk)
- Asbestos victims’ claims delayed (bbc.co.uk)
- Ruling fails to halt confusion for asbestos sufferers (independent.co.uk)