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The impact of Brexit on those injured at work

Author: Chris Proctor

Since the UK voted against the odds to leave the European Union, the country has been clouded by a shroud of uncertainty. That uncertainty does not end when we look at the position for those injured in accidents that were not their fault.

As we are all aware, (although the exact percentages are up for debate), much of the law in force in the UK today originates from the European Union.

In the context of personal injury, this is particularly the case when we consider accidents in the workplace. A plethora of regulations place obligations on UK employers to ensure the health and safety of its employees.

To take one example, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to:

  • Undertake risk assessments
  • Establish procedures to be followed by employees, should situations arise which could present danger
  • Provide information on health & safety in an understandable form
  • Ensure employees are given adequate health and safety training and are not given tasks beyond their competence or physical capabilities

When the government triggers Article 50 and leaves the EU, the protections afforded by these EU regulations could be at risk.

The government may well view it as an opportune time to amend the legislation, as they see fit. What this could mean, is guesswork for the time being.

Many would argue that the EU regulations have formed part of the cornerstone of our worker’s rights, and should not be tampered with. Removing these regulations could leave a legal void, with workers in a weakened position. Our government may enact British legislation to afford similar rights and protections, but of course, we can only speculate on what will happen for now.

On the other hand, the government may take the view that the current burdens placed by EU regulations on businesses are excessive, and could seek to introduce more ‘business friendly’ legislation. This could mean less protection for employees, in the event of an accident.

Ultimately, the route which our country goes down may depend on the prevailing political wind at the time, along with economic factors.

Atherton Godfrey will be keeping a close eye on legal developments, and will always work to help those involved in workplace accidents, whichever legal framework is in place.

Author: Chris Proctor

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