Government reforms (1):  Health and Safety for Workers

What do we already know?

In our December 2020 Newsletter we updated you here on the High Court decision that the Government had not properly implemented various EU health and safety protections (The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain v The Secretary of State for Work & Pensions and another).

In particular, the High Court held that workers should receive the same protection that employees receive under the Employment Rights Act 1996 i.e. to not suffer a detriment for leaving or refusing to return to the workplace in circumstances of serious and imminent danger, or for taking appropriate steps to protect themselves from danger.

What’s new?

In response to the High Court’s decision, the Government has issued draft Regulations correcting the position. From 31 May 2021, workers will also have the right not to be subjected to a detriment if they leave or refuse to return to the workplace in circumstances of serious and imminent danger, or take other appropriate steps to protect themselves or others.

This is particularly relevant at this time given the gradual re-opening of businesses and return of staff to the office and we are likely to see an increase in claims of this sort being made by both workers and employees.