Scotland voted ‘deadliest country for workers’ as our senior solicitor warns of ‘lax’ approach to health and safety

6th Nov 2019
Lisa Boyle

Scotland voted ‘deadliest country for workers’ as our senior solicitor warns of ‘lax’ approach to health and safety

Scotland has been revealed as one of the most dangerous places to work in the UK with an average of one death every two weeks, according to new figures reported in the Daily Record.

work tools

Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive show that Scotland is one of the deadliest parts of Britain with 231 workplace fatalities since 2009.

Jobs in construction and agriculture are among the most dangerous with a total of 1540 work-related deaths in the UK over the period.

Heather Tierney, a senior solicitor who handles workplace accident cases at Watermans, believes the figures could be down to employers taking a ‘lax approach’ to health and safety in the workplace.

She commented: “It is extremely worrying that Scotland is now considered to be one of the most dangerous places to work in the UK.

“At Watermans we specialise in personal injury cases and have a wealth of experience dealing with the horrendous repercussions of workplace accidents.

“These accidents have devastating consequences for the injured party and their family. In some cases the lack of attention to health and safety results in the death of the employee leaving a grieving family looking for answers.

 

“I would completely agree with Louise Gilmour (GMB Scotland Senior Organiser) in that no one should go to work only to come home seriously injured or even worse, not return home at all.

“Accidents of this type usually occur as a result of negligence and a lack of attention being given to reasonable and sufficient health and safety procedures. These accidents are entirely avoidable and employers need to do more to prevent them.

“I note that since 2013 workers in the construction industry have suffered an increasing number of injuries resulting in death. This date coincides with a major change in the law which may provide an explanation.

“Section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 amended Section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It completely removed any civil liability arising from a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

“In laymen’s terms, from the Act coming into force onwards it has made pursuing a civil claim as a result of an accident at work far more difficult than it was previously. This means the deterrent for employers of being pursued for a civil claim has been significantly less since 2013.

This major shift (which favoured employers/insurers and not employees) may have resulted in some employers taking a more lax approach to health and safety in the workplace generally.

“This in turn could partly explain the awful rise in the number of accidents and deaths at work. The removal of safeguards like this for employees is very concerning and ought to be addressed by Government urgently with a view to reducing these numbers going forward.”