Industrial disease Bill unlikely to improve safety, says Faculty

23 Sep


A BILL to recover NHS costs in treating industrial diseases is unlikely to prompt any improvement in workplace safety, the Faculty has suggested.

The Member’s Bill, introduced by Stuart McMillan, MSP, would allow Scottish Ministers to recover NHS costs from negligent employers.

Mr McMillan says he hopes his Bill “will help recover vital monies for the NHS in Scotland, while also forcing industries and employers to be more proactive in terms of health and safety in the workplace.”

The Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee is seeking views on the Liability for NHS Charges (Treatment of Industrial Disease) (Scotland) Bill, asking specifically how it would lead to improved working conditions and help prevent industrial diseases in the future.

The Faculty said in a Response that it did not consider the Bill would necessarily lead to improvements in those areas.

“Those outcomes are already incentivised through awards of damages for personal injury to employees and criminal sanctions for breaches of statutory duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974,” the Faculty stated.

“There is no reason to believe that the Bill will have any additional incentivising effect… will have any additional benefit to improving the safety of workplaces…”

The Faculty believed the Bill would help reduce the financial burden on the NHS while increasing the burden on insurance companies, but was not in a position to quantify these effects.