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Lords protect workers’ rights

The Lords have opposed the government’s proposals to remove the rights of workers to bring civil claims for breaches of health and safety legislation. Catherine Grubb reports

8 March 2013

The government’s attack on workers’ rights comes from a proposed amendment to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 set out in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill currently passing through parliament. Section 47 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 as it stands entitles individuals to take legal action where their employers have breached health and safety regulations. The controversial section 62 inserted without consultation into the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill on 16 October 2012 proposes to remove that right.

While workers would still be able to bring a claim in negligence, the proposed changes would potentially disadvantage tens of thousands of employees each year who will find access to justice more difficult and expensive.

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