Lawyer Says Proposal Could Affect Thousands Of Workers

Workplace Injury And Illness


A leading workplace injury lawyer has today welcomed a Government proposal that may help ease the pressure placed on people injured or made ill at work.

The announcement, made by the Work and Pensions Minister Lord (Bill) McKenzie, stated that many employees did not have access to the compensation they deserved, especially in cases where there is a long latency period on the development of illnesses such as mesothelioma.

David Urpeth, National Head of Workplace Injuries and Illness at law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I welcome the announcement of the Government and commend them for taking action. This recognition that the current situation is not satisfactory, and that there is a need to act urgently, has been long overdue.

“People have a right to go to work and come home unharmed and healthy. It is unacceptable to think that so many people are injured or made ill as a result of someone else’s negligence.

“Compensation is not a windfall but necessary funds to allow struggling victims, and their families, come to terms with what happened, and start to rebuild their lives. Therefore, this proposal to simplify the process and potentially introduce an Employer’s Liability Insurance Bureau could not be more welcome to us, or the victims of injury and illness that we represent.”

Urpeth continued that the changes could benefit thousands of people, with the latest Health and Safety statistics* showing that more than 2156 people died from mesothelioma in 2007 and in 2008/09 hundreds of thousands of people were injured at work and 180 people died as a result.

He said: “The most important thing for us is that health and safety is at the top of every employer’s agenda.  If people are injured, or killed at work, it is only right and proper that they, or their families, have access to justice and the compensation they deserve.”

The Minister for Work and Pensions has said the government hopes to examine plans urgently for an Employer’s Liability Insurance Bureau that would allow access to compensation in cases where an insurer cannot be traced.