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Fine line on compensation


With regard to your story on the fines imposed on LUL for infringement of the Health & Safety at Work Act which in this case infringed the 1989 Electricity at work Regulations (NCE 17 January), it was interesting to note that no individual was fined.

Under this criminal prosecution the supervisor was instead ordered to pay compensation to fellow workers.

I had always thought of potential penalties for infringement of the Health & Safety at Work Act in terms of companies being fined, or individuals found to be at fault being fined or in severe cases being imprisoned. I was not aware that under criminal law, instructions on compensation from one individual to another could be handed down by a criminal court.

I would suggest that this has very severe implications for anyone at work in the construction industry. No longer, it seems, is employers' liability sufficient to cover someone who is 'put to work', but we are all at financial risk for our actions as well as potentially facing fines or imprisonment.

In other forms of actions it is usual for criminal prosecution which results in a party being found guilty, to be then followed by a civil action in which compensation is awarded to the offended party to be paid by the offending one.

Steve Smith (M), Steve.Smith6644@ btinternet. com

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