I read with interest on the Independent website recently and in the press generally the successful prosecution brought by the Health & Safety Executive against those companies who were found to be responsible for the Potters Bar rail crash.
This was of course a tragic loss of life and many will be physically and emotionally scarred by the effects of the accident for many, many years.I am a huge supporter of the Health & Safety Executive. They have a very difficult job. They have to deal with individuals and companies who are reluctant to provide them with information and allow them onto their premises.
Fortunately, they have some “teeth” when it comes to enforcement and prosecutions.What concerns me and the purpose of this blog is that it is all well and good having a subsequent prosecution for a tragic incident such as the Potters Bar rail crash. The whole purpose of the prosecution, as indeed is the purpose of a criminal Trial, is to penalise the parties involved and also to show that justice has been done.
As in all cases, this is very much an after the event penalty and the approach by the Health & Safety Executive is that they have sufficient authority if they are allowed to do their job, to ensure that accidents such as these do not happen or at the very least, that steps are in place to ensure that the likelihood of such an incident occurring is significantly reduced.We are however in an era of cuts.
I fear that the Health & Safety Executive like other Government organisations has been significantly affected. It remains to be seen what the long term consequences of this is going to be.Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046 or claim online and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.