Faculty of Advocates warns industrial disease bill ‘unlikely to improve safety’



A bill to recover NHS costs in treating industrial diseases is unlikely to prompt any improvement in workplace safety, the Faculty of Advocates 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 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.

In its response, the Faculty said that it does not consider that the bill will necessarily lead to improved working conditions.

The Faculty said: “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 & Safety at Work Act 1974.

“There is no reason to believe that the Bill will have any additional incentivising effect.”

The Faculty said it believes the bill would help reduce the financial burden on the NHS while increasing the burden on insurance companies, but that it was not in a position to quantify these effects.



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