The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has claimed that a new clause introduced to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill by the Government has put workplace health and safety back into the Victorian age.
APIL president Karl Tonks explained:
“At the moment, where an employer has been found to have breached health and safety regulations and someone has been injured as a result, the injured person has an automatic right to claim compensation. The law has been clear on this point since a landmark case was brought in 1898.
“But the Government is now seeking changes which will mean the injured person will no longer be able to rely on this right, but will have effectively to start from scratch by proving that negligence has occurred.”
And Tonks also expressed deep reservations about the Government's programme of reform in this area.
“What is particularly disturbing is that the Government gave itself until next summer to review this area of the law but instead it has been introduced at the last minute, when the Bill is halfway through its passage, without review and without consultation.
“In its obsession with cutting what it sees as health and safety “red tape”, the Government is playing fast and loose with people's safety,” he said. “The workforce of this country deserves better.”
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