Countless employees affected by occupational diseases are not receiving compensation because of reductions in basic health and safety protections at work, a new report by Hazards claims.
The workers’ health journal argues that the Government has not been direct about Britain’s ‘compensation culture’ so it can cut basic health and safety protections in the workplace.
Official Government figures show the number of people receiving compensation for work-related injuries or diseases has dropped by 60% since the start of the century, from 219,183 in 2000-01 to 87,655 in 2011-12. Accident Advice Helpline would be delighted to help anyone with a work injury claim.
Compensation unlikely in terminal cases
The report suggests families of those terminally ill with occupational diseases are unlikely to be given compensation.
It states that payouts for the majority of occupational cancers are secured in less than one in 50 cases, citing figures that indicate only 59 received compensation in 2011-12 of the more than 4,000 workers who died of work-related chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Hazards said people suffering from work-related stress, anxiety and depression are even less likely to get a payout, with only 293 workers successful out of 221,000 during the period.
Policies preventing compensation claims
The report accuses ministers of “cynically exaggerated vexatious claims” in order to bring in a number of policies that make it more difficult for victims to seek payouts.
The report claims the measures have produced costly barriers preventing many of those injured or ill through work from claiming compensation at court.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of TUC, which supported the report, said: “The true Government motive here is to weaken health and safety laws and make it harder to for victims to pursue claims.
“Unfortunately the end result is likely to be a much higher rate of workplace accidents, injuries and illnesses in the future.”
Hazards editor and report author Rory O’Neill, Professor of Occupational Health at Stirling University, added: “The Government’s cynical promotion of a compensation culture myth means many workers who are dying in pain are also dying in poverty.
“We are seeing a denial of justice because the Government is putting the health of the insurance industry and the safety of the most dangerous rogues in the business community over the health, safety and survival of people at work.”