The House of Lords voted on Monday (22 April) to repeal the law which makes employers liable if they breach regulations that exist to protect workers.

The amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, introduced by the government at the last minute after the Bill had been through committee in the House of Commons, will mean that the burden of proving what went wrong will now fall on the injured worker or the family of someone killed, rather than the employer. They will have to prove what the employer knew or ought to have known if they are to recover compensation.

Tom Jones, head of policy and public affairs at Thompsons Solicitors said: “This amendment, which was originally defeated in the House of Lords, will reverse the decline in deaths and major injuries in the UK with all its social and economic ramifications. This is a green light to employers to sidestep regulations specifically created to protect the health and safety of workers.

“The government has got its way but its handling of the issue was shabby and the outcome is no advert for democracy.”