The Herald Scotland has asked the question we often ask ourselves as personal injury solicitors in Scotland – are health and safety breaches being investigated thoroughly enough?
The newspaper report suggests that there should be concerns about the comparatively low rate of prosecutions made in relation to accidents at work, the number of which has fallen by around 50 per cent since the founding of a specialist unit to carry out the investigations.
Following the instigation of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety division the number of cases being prosecuted has fallen drastically.
While the conviction rate is high at 98 per cent, The Herald Scotland ponders the low numbers of cases coming to court.
The number of health and safety-related prosecutions in England and Wales over the five-year period to 2014 was 27 times more than that of Scotland. Yet, the population is only ten times larger and Scotland's workers are often involved in a higher proportion of dangerous occupations.
This seems, therefore, a little incongruous.
In England and Wales, of course, the Health and Safety Executive may bring prosecutions against companies who have caused personal injury accidents through negligence; however, in Scotland the COPFS has sole responsibility for getting the cases to court.
While the legal complexity of the cases handled by the COPFS Health and Safety Division is not in question, the recent drop in volume of prosecutions is troubling, even though, it insists, it can only act upon cases reported to it by the HSE.
The HSE say, if a case meets its enforcement criteria, it is duly handed to the COPFS.
Here at Thompsons Scotland, we aim to ensure all our clients receive the best legal service we can provide and will strive to seek any relevant evidence which will help their case. If a prosecution is successful it will almost certainly ease the way for a damages claim to be made.
However, if you feel you have suffered a personal injury accident at work, and you were not at fault, please contact our team today and we can help you bring a claim for compensation against the liable party.