UK Labour Laws – Could things have been different for the family of John Wilson?

Guest Post

What on the surface seems a rather standard case of negligence has proven to show that the cogs of liturgy become more convoluted the larger the case tends to grow. Therefore, following a criminal hearing against the management, the family has had 'the door to justice closed,' though remain intent on pursuing the case.

In this regard, then, for all members of the British workforce it is worth considering what might have occurred should this event have taken place on UK soil, and could the outcome have been different?

UK Labour Laws
UK labour laws are an umbrella system of interconnected laws governing everything to do with the workplace – from the statutory minimum wage, to the minimum number of days holiday an employee must be granted each year. Included in this roll-call is, of course, a health and safety law – something which is taken very seriously in Britain. The leading piece of legislation in this regard is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, an overbearing system of regulations that ensure the well-being of employees at work.

How Could These Have Protected Mr. Wilson?
Well, firstly, if Mr. Wilson had been working in the UK at the time of his accident, the management would have had to release to the courts immediately following the accident a precise safety brief detailing all the procedures in place at the time. This preprepared document would provide an instant look into whether the management had fulfilled their end of the bargain and had indeed installed sufficient safety processes. The shining light in this example is that the cause of Mr. Wilson's death was allegedly a faulty escape hatch on the roof of the cabin during the time of the flood. Had this have been properly tested and checked beforehand, then of course it is likely that Mr. Wilson would have survived the accident. Unfortunately, though, what seems to be due to an incorrectly placed 'bush guard' obstructing the latch on the outside of the hatch, Mr. Wilson couldn't escape and as such drowned in the flood.

In this case, then, there was an obvious malfunction somewhere along their safety process, which resulted in the death of an employee. In the UK, the training of each individual would have been called into question to ascertain the reason why nobody spotted the faulty escape hatch. The training programme would have been reviewed, and the process of supervising all company machinery to ensure it imposes no danger would have been called into suspect.

“So Far is as Reasonably Practicable”
However, like much legal framework, this situation would have still not been so cut and dry. These six little words that every worker in Britain should be familiar with at all times could have had major implications on the outcome of a tribunal looking at the death of John Wilson. To expand, “so far is reasonably practicable” basically means that the employer must instil the most effective health and safety procedures, up to a point where they become financially disproportionate to the degree of risk imposed. In this case, however, working in an area that is known for flooding, it could be argued that reasonable measures were not taken.

As with all legal matters, it is nigh impossible to predict what will occur. What is clear, though, is that in the UK this matter would have been treated much more litigiously, and maybe – just maybe – the family of Mr. John Wilson would have met a much more favourable outcome.

Should you have been involved in an industrial, or work related accident of any kind, it would be wise to seek proper legal counsel before making any decisions on what you may pursue. Coles-Law's professional work injury and industrial diseases team can advise you on what to do next, and offer expert help and advice regarding any aspects of your legal pursuit.

This article is a guest post by David, a content writer on legal topics. You can see his profile at google+.

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