Developments around health and safety in the workplace in the United Kingdom are sparking fierce debate on the issue of employer responsibilities. The discussions taking place in the UK are shaping the future for businesses all over the world, as companies get to grips with what they need to do to protect their profits and their staff against the dangers of illness and injury. Many are asking important questions, such as what is public liability insurance?
Thanks to public liability insurance UK businesses have been well protected against the cost of insurance claims by employees who have been injured or taken ill in the work place. This type of insurance cover is very common in Britain and it is expected that most businesses purchase a premium as a matter of course.
But the harsh economic climate of 2011 is taking its toll on all businesses, big and small, and everyone is making cut backs where they can. Unfortunately, it is often the purchases made ‘just in case something goes wrong’ that come under close scrutiny when business owners are looking at where they can make quick and easy savings.
Those owners might look at their public liability insurance and see it as being ‘less-than-essential’, but they risk the wrath of their customers and the public at large.
Just this year in Ireland, no less than 14 member clubs of the Donegal Gaelic Athletic Association failed to renew their property and public liability insurance.
The Donegal Democrat reported that Naomh Ultan’s Terrence McGinley raised the matter at a county committee meeting.
He said: “It is highly irresponsible of these clubs not to have their property and public liability insurance. I don’t know who the clubs are, and for that matter my own club could be one of them, but it is not good enough and it is not on.
“What happens if a supporter or someone from another club or a member of the general public turns up at one of these grounds and gets injured and makes a claim – who is liable?”
The UK’s Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has delivered a word of warning to employers who may seek to take advantage of more relaxed health and safety laws as an excuse to not report workplace injuries.
APIL President David Bott told PostOnline.co.uk: “It is only right that an employer, whose negligence has caused an injury to a worker, should meet the cost of the investigation into the incident. But there needs to be a mechanism which helps ensure that businesses abide by the rules and continue to report workplace injuries to the Health and Safety Executive.
“By making the failure to report workplace injuries a criminal offence, negligent employers will fear steep consequences for not complying. This will increase the onus on them to observe the rules properly, and not ignore them at the expense of workers’ safety.”