Cordia Common Law Ruling ‘Highlights Importance Of Health And Safety’

Woman Wins Legal Battle Over Injury At Work


By Rob Dixon

Workplace injury lawyers have welcomed a ruling in Scotland which could be a vital step towards ensuring that employees are able to gain justice from their employers in relation to accidents at work following major legislation changes later this year.

Tracey Kennedy has won her battle for justice against Cordia in relation to an incident in December 2010, when she suffered a wrist injury after falling on ice while visiting a terminally ill client in severe weather conditions.

The Court of Session rejected the employer’s argument that Ms Kennedy could have decided not to go out due to the conditions, stating that the worker was providing a vital service and that a cheap over-shoe attachment could have been used which would have provided grip when walking on ice.

Judge Lord McEwan added that all have to live and work through the winter so safety concerns must be “levelled upwards”. The ruling is expected to give workers vital protection under common law, which experts believe could be vital when the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 comes into force in October.

Reiss Matthews, a lawyer and expert in workplace injury at Irwin Mitchell, said: “As a firm we have long-held concerns over the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act and the impact it will have on health and safety, as well as the ability of victims of work accidents to get the justice.

“While we would still urge a rethink on the changes to civil liability, this decision under common law is a welcome step which shows the courts are still determined to uphold the core principles and the importance of health and safety at work.

“Employers have a duty to ensure that their workers are protected adequately from all potential risks and the provision of the right protective equipment is a vital part of that. We hope this sends a clear message to all employers on the importance of keeping their staff safe.”

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