The world of employment was a bleak one indeed for British workers before the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974. Before this law was introduced, employers had no legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their workers.
Workers had no legal recourse if they felt they were being put in dangerous situations. In the worst scenarios, workers’ lives were considered disposable. If they were injured or killed, it was simply all part and parcel of the job they had chosen to do.
Official statistics relating to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
To give an idea of what a huge difference the Health and Safety at Work act has really made, consider this one statistic. Before the introduction of the act, there were usually around 650 fatal injuries to workers in the UK each year. Today this is down to just 95. Even taking into the account the differences in the types of jobs that most people in the UK do today, that’s still a huge change. Before the act, non-fatal injuries numbered in the region of 300,000. Today that number is just 80,000.
While cases of asbestos-related illness are still on the increase (as people are only just now developing disease from jobs they did many decades ago), generally workers today are far safer than they once were. It’s worth noting that cases of stress and depression have risen, but this is most likely because our attitudes to stress and depression changed as recently as the nineties. Before this, they were often not even taken into account as they weren’t considered a valid reason for time off work.
What to do if you have been injured at work
Today, employers have a duty to do all they can to ensure the safety of their employees at work. That includes providing and maintaining a safe environment, safe equipment, proper safety gear, training, and supervision. If you are injured at work and it isn’t your fault, it may be down to their negligence.
If you’d like to establish whether or not you may have a case for employer negligence and learn more about personal injury compensation, call our expert advisers at Accident Advice Helpline.
The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and you’re under no obligation to make a claim simply by making a call. For a quick guide to your possible eligibility, consult our 30-second claim calculator online.
Date Published: November 24, 2013
Author: David Brown