Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the regulator for enforcement of workplace health, have recently published alarming statistics that suggest employers have frequently gone unpunished following workplace accidents.
In 2016-17, it was reported that the amount of ‘mandatory investigations’ that were not undertaken due to a lack of resources was 2. In 2021-22, the number was 389.
Prospect, the trade union that undertook these investigations, said that a decline in public funding and staff numbers meant victims who suffer an injury at work could miss out on justice.
Workplace Accident Procedure
Mandatory investigations should occur if a workplace accident results in a person’s death or permanent injury (such as multiple serious fractures or blinding).
Although Prospect found that around half of the more than 800 incidents that occurred in 2021-22 were dropped because all reasonable precautions were taken, it was also found that a similar proportion were dropped due to a lack of reasonable resources.
It should be noted that there are some instances by which an investigation may be deemed “impractical”, for example, if key evidence is no longer available.
HSE Funding Cuts
HSE has struggled to recruit and retain inspectors, policy officials and scientific staff, contributing to the lack of resources. Senior staff at the regulator believe that the body has “shrunk below the critical mass to be an effective regulator”, released in a recent HSE report.
The general secretary of Prospect, Mike Clancy, expressed concern over the dropping of investigations into significant incidents, stating that it is alarming for anyone who prioritises workplace safety.
According to Clancy, the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the significance of having a competent regulator with sufficient skills and resources to examine workplaces and hold employers responsible for their actions.
However, a spokesperson for HSE said Britain “continues to be one of the safest places to work in the world”. Furthermore, it was pointed out that there has been a recent rise in proactive HSE investigations, rising from 14,880 in 2020-21 to 16,900 in 2021-22.
Solicitor for Accidents at Work
As the victim of an accident at work, you will want to do all you can to get yourself (or your family member) the justice you deserve.
At Bridge McFarland LLP, our specialist personal injury solicitors have decades of combined experience assisting people in pursuing compensation claims following an accident at work. It is essential to seek comprehensive legal advice promptly following your accident as time limits to claim do apply.