But that doesn't mean you'll get compensation.
A little compensation
Compensation options for people
injured or made ill by their jobs
A little compensation
[Hazards 90, May 2005]
Workers lose billions each year as a result of occupational
injuries and diseases. Some will never see work again. Hazards
outlines what’s available from a system that provides consolation
for some, frustration for most and proper compensation to no-one suffering
as a result of their job.
SECTION 1: Summary
disposable worker system
Fewer than 1 in 10 workplace ill-health
or injury victims get any compensation. The annual compensation
bill is less than 10 per cent of the costs of occupational injuries
and disease borne by the victims and their dependants.
• The annual bill for common
law compensation is £600 million.
• The annual bill for DWP industrial
injuries benefit is £700 million.
• The annual bill for pain,
disability and hardship to victims and their dependants is £10.1-14.7
• The chances of being awarded
compensation for some common occupational diseases is vanishingly
small. Stress and RSIs are typical cases of very common occupational
diseases for which compensation is very uncommon.
• Each year, over 850,000 people
in the UK develop health problems or suffer injuries caused by
• Each year, only about 60,000
people in the UK receive compensation from the common law system,
via employers/their insurers.
• Each year, about 60,000 apply
for DWP industrial injuries benefits, but fewer than half of these
claims are successful. In the year to March 2005, there were 45,000
applications for industrial injuries benefit, but only 40 per
cent were successful. Out of all claimants – successful
or otherwise – only 25 per cent actually receive any benefits.
DWP qualification rules, not absence of occupational injury or
disease, were responsible for most of the exclusions.
• The average cost of a common
law compensation claim is £10,000, only part of which goes
to the occupational accident or disease victim.
• Occupational deafness, lung
disease and vibration white finger make up over threequarters
of all occupational disease claims under the common law system.
Stress and upper limb disorders make up less than 10 per cent
• Occupational deafness, breathing
disorders and vibration white finger are the most commonly compensated
prescribed industrial diseases under the DWP industrial injuries
scheme. Stress is not a prescribed disease and doesn’t appear
in the payouts league table.
• Only half of the 2,000 people
dying each year of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma receive DWP
industrial injuries benefit payments – despite the condition
being accepted as caused by work, devastating and a guarantee
of an excruciating death. Scarcely anyone suffering the even more
common asbestos related lung cancers – fewer than 100 a
year – receive compensation.
Britain’s compensation crisis
Britain has a compensation crisis. But it is not because of a runaway
“compensation culture” – the government accepted the
findings of a 2004 Better Regulation Taskforce investigation which concluded
this was “a damaging myth” (1).
Britain has a disposable worker culture, where tens of thousands suffer
serious health damage each year, many getting nowhere near a compensation
payout. Instead they face pain, hardship and uncertainty.
This is not a small problem. Millions in the UK say they suffer work-related
ill-health. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures suggest there could
be 700,000 new cases each year (2).
HSE says in 2003/04 an estimated 2.2 million people in Great Britain
were suffering from an illness which they believed was caused or made
worse by their current or past work. An estimated 39 million working days
were lost overall, 30 million due to work-related ill-health and 9 million
due to workplace injury. Almost 160,000 suffered reported occupational
An analysis of latest statistics from HSE, the government and insurers
suggests no more than 1 in 10 workers developing an occupational disease
or suffering a workplace injury get any compensation at all from any source.
The entire system is designed to deny sick and injured workers compensation
for their pain, suffering and hardship by a process of legalised fraud.
And it is not just an unfair system, it is an arbitrary system. Some of
the most common occupational health problems in Britain barely get compensated
Welch, pictured as a child with stepfather Roger Bugby.
Asbestos cancer kills 32-year-old
Barry Welch, thought to be one of
the youngest people in the UK to contract asbestos-related cancer,
died on 27 April 2005. The 32-year-old father of three from Leicester
was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2004.
His family believe he was exposed to
asbestos fibres as a child in the 1970s when his stepfather Roger
Bugby worked for Palmers Scaffolding. It is thought the exposure
came from contamination on Mr Bugby’s clothing when he worked
as a scaffolder on Kingsnorth Power Station, adjacent to the Isle
of Grain. Barry was diagnosed with the cancer in September 2004
and given just six months to live.
|Barry Welch, killed by asbestos
days before his 33rd birthday.
At the time, he said: "I am an
innocent victim. It just seems so unfair that my life will be cut
short, even though I never knowingly came into contact or worked
with asbestos." Solicitors for the Welches are pursuing a claim
for compensation against Mr Bugby's former employer.
Barry was not eligible for industrial
injuries benefit because his asbestos exposure was not while working.
And his family will have difficulty securing common law compensation
because they will have to deal with all the normal barriers to a
successful compensation claim and will not only have to prove his
stepfather was negligently exposed to asbestos, but that Barry's
exposure was also a result of the company's negligence.
you help? The Welch family’s
solicitors, Irwin Mitchell, want to hear from anyone who worked
with Roger Bugby for Palmers Scaffolding in the 1970s or with a
knowledge of working conditions on the Kingsnorth Power Station.
Budgen or Martyn Hayward on 0114 274 4420.
SECTION 2: Workers
pay for job hazards
Workers lose billions
The combined annual value of claims under the two major compensation
schemes – common law compensation where you take a legal case and
the industrial injuries benefit scheme run by the government - amounts
to less than £1.5bn from around 80,000 claims.
It sounds a lot, but the figure is dwarfed by the cost borne by those
suffering work-related accidents and ill-health. HSE estimates published
in 2004 put the cost to individuals - the victims and their dependants
- at between £10.1 and £14.7 billion in 2001/02 (3).
Most do not get any compensation.
For example, HSE estimates that over half of all cases of work-related
illness are musculoskeletal disorders (1.126m cases) or stress (over 0.5m).
Most of the major successful stress damages cases have been taken by unions.
A report from the TUC in 2003 (4)
said only just over 2,500 new cases were opened by affiliated unions in
2001, less than 1-in-100 of the 265,000 people who HSE estimates first
became aware of work stress-related health problems that year. Stress
isn’t on the DWP industrial injuries scheme list of approved diseases,
so no-one has received compensation though that route.
TUC says there were just 3,000 successful strain injury cases in 2001,
a year in which HSE estimates 240,000 people developed work-related strain
Around 260,000 people in the UK are receiving disablement benefit under
the government’s Industrial Injuries Scheme. In the three years
to 2003, around 60,000 claims were assessed each year under this scheme,
although fewer than half of those making claims were successful and fewer
still were awarded benefits, mostly because they did not satisfy the very
restrictive qualification criteria.
In the year to March 2005 the number of claims for industrial injuries
benefit dipped to 45,000, only 40 per cent of which were successful. Each
year, about threequarters of claims – including many that are "successful"
– result in no payment of benefits.
TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson believes the entire compensation system
needs a revamp so it reflects the problems of 21st century workplaces
and 21st century workers. He told Hazards: “The government’s
industrial injuries compensation schemes were designed for the Britain
of 60 years ago, when millions worked down the mines and the majority
of the working population was male and manual.
"It has not caught up with the changing world of work where Britain’s
manufacturing base has declined dramatically and where most now work in
the service sector. As a result it not only fails those in the new jobs
and employment sectors but also fails women, who are more likely to be
found in the new jobs. Women now make up half of the workforce, but are
barely represented at all in the jobs that receive most of the government
Figure it out
By HSE estimates, in any given year around 850,000 people in the UK either
develop work-related health problems or suffer an occupational accident
serious enough to be reported. Only about 80,000 people in any given year
receive compensation awards of any kind, indicating more than 90 per cent
of people whose health is damaged by their work receive nothing for their
pain, suffering and hardship.
And the impact of work-related ill-health for many is a life-changing
trauma. In its April 2004 submission to the Work and Pensions Select Committee
on the work of HSE/C, the TUC commented “that 27,000 people every
year leave work altogether as a result of a workplace injury or illness”
The failure of the compensation system is most acute when it comes to
those suffering work-related ill-health.The most commonly compensated
conditions under both schemes, DWP and common law, are industrial accidents
making up threequarters of the total, with occupational disease claims
making up just a quarter of the cases settled. Yet there are considerably
more cases of occupational diseases than injuries each year, and these
cases lead to more than three times the number of sick days.
This discrepancy is no accident. The cause-and-effect of an industrial
accident is hard to deny. However, for occupational diseases were there
can sometimes be a period of years between the responsible exposure and
the development of the disease, evasion techniques employed by employers,
insurers and government agencies can vary from the cynical to the incredible.
Why they won’t
Someone has to pay for work-related health problems – and it is
usually the victims. A comparison of occupational ill-health and accident
prevalence and annual compensation statistics suggests that no more than
1 in 10 receives any compensation.
The reasons are varied, but all schemes have one thing in common –
they place large and frequently insurmountable barriers between accident
and disease victims and a compensation payout.
In common law compensation, some insurers acting on behalf of employers
have taken measures to delay progress on cases. This can have two main
effects. It can exhaust the patience and finances of a claimant so the
claim just goes away. Or, in some cases, it can mean the claimant dies
before a case is resolved. This may not be deliberate, but the outcome
is the same.
In other instances, the employers and personal injury insurers have gone
to extraordinary and extremely costly lengths to challenge cases that
might establish precedents. It took a massive and risky investment by
unions to establish the right to compensation for stress, strain injuries,
vibration white finger, miners’ obstructive airways diseases and
welders’ lung. In the latest move, insurers are challenging the
right of claimants to receive compensation for pleural plaques, shadows
on the lung indicative of asbestos exposure and possible future cancer
The evasion can take many forms – challenging the science, the
diagnosis, the occupational link, the blame, the integrity of the claimant,
or – when all else fails – employing the “aw shucks”
defence, “how could we have been expected to know?” With common
law cases you can prove the case was caused by the job, but if you can’t
prove employer negligence you get nothing.
Widower loses damages
for wife’s death
A former shipyard worker whose wife died from an asbestos cancer
has been stripped of his £82,000 compensation payout. James
Maguire's wife Teresa, 67, contracted mesothelioma through secondary
exposure to asbestos dust on his work clothes.
The Appeal Court ruled in January 2005 that Harland and Wolff,
which owned the ship repair yard in Liverpool that employed Mr Maguire
as a boilermaker in the 1960s, was not legally liable for Mrs Maguire's
death. She died in May 2004, just weeks after the High Court awarded
£82,000 damages against the company. The Court of Appeal overturned
the decision by a majority of two to one. It said that given the
state of knowledge about the risks of secondary exposure to asbestos,
the company could not have reasonably foreseen that she would suffer
In statements before her death, Mrs Maguire described how she regularly
washed her husband’s clothes after his return from work, shaking
his overalls out in the backyard of their Liverpool home so that
'clouds of dust' were given off. Mr Maguire said there were no facilities
for changing or washing at work, so he was forced to wear the contaminated
Making big problems disappear
Many people do not know they can claim compensation; others do not have
the support or resources to stand any chance of making a successful claim.
This is why unions win a disproportionately large number of common law
claims – members have access to knowledgeable union reps and to
free legal support.
Even for those who get so far as submitting a claim, the route to compensation
is never less than time consuming and usually difficult.
The government’s industrial injury benefits scheme has its own
succession of barriers to claims. Disability thresholds, time constraints,
restricted disease categories and other measures limit the number of claims
that will be successful – more than half fail. Schemes in some other
countries operate a “rebuttal presumption” that assumes a
case is caused by work unless proved otherwise or “individual proof”
cases where each case, whatever the condition, is judged on its merits.
In the UK, however, a condition must be on the DWP list of prescribed
diseases, must meet high disability thresholds and must be caused by work.
The list itself is inclusive and very limited, missing off many of the
more common occupational health problems.
Occupational stress is illustrative of the problems with both common
law and DWP industrial injuries benefit. HSE suggests it is the second
most common occupational health problem in the UK, after strain injuries.
Yet Association of British Insurers’ figures show stress has never
made up more than 2 per cent of the common law occupational disease compensation
claims in any year, and never more than half a per cent of all workplace
compensation claims (accidents plus diseases). Stress is not a prescribed
industrial disease, so has never figured at all in the DWP industrial
injuries benefit league table. This means at most a few hundred people
in any year have received compensation for stress.
And for all the press coverage, repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) make
up less about 1 per cent of all workplace common law compensation claims
in the UK, or about 1 in 20 of the occupational disease claims. The two
RSI conditions on the DWP industrial injuries benefit scheme – the
“beat” conditions and carpal tunnel syndrome in certain very
limited jobs and circumstances – make up less than 4 per cent of
the total prescribed industrial disease awards or about 1 per cent of
all DWP injuries benefit payouts. The other RSIs miss out entirely.
Even asbestos disease, an occupational killer known for over 100 years,
is as likely as not to result in no DWP industrial injuries benefit payment,
even for an asbestos specific and invariably fatal cancer.
Official figures obtained by Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims’
Support Group show that in 2002, of the 1,862 people who died from mesothelioma,
only 54 per cent received industrial injuries benefit.
For lung cancer the figures are more shocking still. Despite asbestos
related lung cancer being at least as common – and probably more
than twice as prevalent – as asbestos-related mesothelioma, only
60 payments were made in the UK in 2001.
asbestos compensation disgrace
Tony Whitston of Greater
Manchester Asbestos Victims’ Support Group outlines the problems
dying men and women encounter it their attempts to obtain government
industrial injuries benefit for asbestos disease.
It is commonly thought that sufferers of asbestos-related diseases
are readily compensated through the industrial injuries benefit
scheme. Nothing could be further from the truth in terms. In 2002,
1,862 people died from mesothelioma (6),
but only 54 per cent of those people received Industrial Injuries
Benefit (7). This is
an astonishing statistic given the fact that mesothelioma is almost
exclusively caused by asbestos (8).
The figures for payment for asbestos-related lung cancer are far
worse. It is almost impossible to meet the prescription rule for
asbestos-related lung cancer in the UK. Despite the fact that it
is accepted that there is at least one lung cancer death (9)
for each mesothelioma death - and this is a conservative
estimate - only 60 payments were made in 2001 in the UK. Contrast
this with Germany (10),
where 767 benefit payments were made for asbestos-related lung cancer
and 665 benefits for mesothelioma in 2001.
The final insult to injury for asbestos victims is that many of
those who have wrung industrial injuries benefit from the system
lose some, if not all, of it because they are poor. Industrial injuries
benefit is paid as compensation for disablement resulting from loss
of faculty. It can be paid on top of wages and is tax-free. It is
not, and never was intended to be an earnings replacement benefit.
Yet it is treated as income for means-tested benefits.
Today, contributory benefits are so paltry that most people on
low incomes rely on means-tested benefits. Approximately 50,000
in receipt of industrial injuries benefit (18 per cent) also
rely on means tested benefits. Consequently, asbestos victims who
are predominantly elderly, working class men, without occupational
pensions rely on means-tested benefits and are robbed of their state
compensation. Many asbestos victims refuse to claim industrial injury
benefit because they would then lose Income Support or Pension Credit.
As a result they have to forgo a possible lump sum payment under
the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979.
The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council has recognised that terminally
ill claimants receive too little under the industrial injuries benefit
scheme. It has recommended increased payments in its 2004/5 Annual
Report. But increased payments would make little difference to asbestos
victims dying from mesothelioma who are reliant on means-tested
benefits. A radical change to the benefits system is required.
Women particularly appear to fare badly when it comes to mesothelioma
claims. They are less likely to have worked in a job with obvious
asbestos exposure. This inability to prove the occupational exposure
could explain a part of the 10 per cent discrepancy between those
making claims for mesothelioma benefits and the number of actual
Dying for compensation
ROBBING THE SICK The family
of one asbestos victim contacted the Greater Manchester Asbestos
Victims Support Group from hospital on 7 May 2004. They had been
told the 79-year-old was suffering from mesothelioma and was dying.
He was too weak to lift his hand to sign an application form for
a payment under the Workers' Compensation Act for mesothelioma,
which would have meant an "in-life" payment of £9,914.
He died the next day leaving the forms unsigned. A posthumous payment
of less than half this amount was subsequently made.
NO BODY PAYS A 78-year-old
suffering debilitating lung scarring caused by asbestos - asbestosis
- successfully sued Turner and Newall for compensation. His cheque
for £38,000 damages was in the post when the company - at
one time the world's largest asbestos multinational - was put into
administration by its highly profitable US parent company Federal
Mogul, which acquired the firm and its liabilities in March 1998.
His compensation claim under the government's Workers' Compensation
Act was rejected because he had already taken court action, denying
him the £3,547 he would otherwise have received. He may now
never receive any compensation from any source, despite having proven
he suffers a disease caused by his work and that that life-threatening
disease was caused by his employer's negligence. Find
out more on the Turner
and Newall asbestos compensation scandal.
LITTLE BENEFIT A 65-year-old
awarded industrial injuries disablement benefit for pleural thickening
and asbestosis in April 2004 is barely better off as as result.
As a result of the award he became liable for Council Tax and rent
payments. His compensation payment was reduced to just £5.40
a week. Others fare worse still as they can lose their income support
and "passport benefits" such as free eye and dental care
and may even end up worse off. Asbestos victims' organisations say
hundreds each year are affected this way.
The missing millions
The government no fault schemes created to compensate ex-miners for occupational
bronchitis and emphysema and vibration white finger illustrate how many
cases might be going uncompensated. Compensation only became available
in 1998, since when £2.5bn has been paid out. As of March 2005,
192,000 respiratory disease claims had been settled, totalling £1.3bn.
A further 101,000 cases of vibration white finger had been compensated,
with payouts totalling £1.2bn.
But these miners only received the lung disease compensation at all because
mining union NACODS fought and won a costly nine-year High Court legal
battle. A similar union legal case secured the VWF compensation deal.
Without the union intervention, these near 300,000 compensation payouts
– and the many more to follow – would never have been made.
For most conditions the great majority of affected workers will not receive
compensation. For some extraordinarily important causes of workplace disability,
conditions like RSI and stress, the chances of any recompense are vanishingly
TABLE 1 HSE ranking of occupational diseases
||Stress, depression, anxiety
||Breathing or lung problems
||Heart disease/attack, circulatory
||Headache and/or eyestrain
Self-reported work-related illness
2001/02, Results of a household survey, HSE, 2003.
Occupational Health Statistic Bulletin 2003/04, HSE, 2004.
How many cases are hidden?
An April 2005 Trade and Industry select committee report on the
coal industry scheme to compensate coal miners with lung problems
and vibration white finger commented: "The Department of Trade
and Industry is responsible for the administration of the two largest
personal injury compensation schemes in the world—one for
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) contracted by exposure
to coal dust, the other for Vibration White Finger (VWF) for hand
injuries caused by the use of vibrating tools."
It said there are nearly 770,000 claims registered under the two
schemes, which had already paid out more than £2.3 billion
in compensation. DTI estimates the total costs will exceed £7.5
billion once all claims have been settled.
More telling was the admission that the government had no idea
of the extent of these work-related health problems. "Although
the government failed initially to recognise the scale of the problem
and therefore the likely demand for compensation under the schemes,
it is not clear to us how a better estimate could have been produced,"
the select committee noted. It added: "With the benefit of
hindsight it is clear that the original underestimate of the scale
of the problem meant that the resources allocated to the compensation
schemes were inadequate from the outset and that mistakes were made."
There is no reason to suppose the government is any better fitted
to recognise the true extent of uncompensated cases for a range
of work-related health conditions.
Even for the obstructive lung diseases and vibration white finger
compensated under this scheme, there could be tens of thousands
of construction, steel and other workers who have had similar damaging
exposures but who are still suffering in silence and for whom there
is no comparable scheme.
Coal health compensation schemes, Select Committee on Trade
and Industry, Fourteenth Report, HC 374, 6 April 2005. Summary
• and full
DTI coal health scheme
SECTION 3: Making them pay
Common law compensation
Six figure common law compensation payouts make the headlines, but are
exceedingly rare. Common law cases – also known as civil cases or
damages - generate about 60,000 cases a year, where a lot of people get
a little. Most settlements are below £5,000. Relatively severe occupational
deafness will typically result in a payout of a few thousand pounds. The
Association of British Insurers puts the average cost of each settlement
– the payment to the victim and the associated legal and admin costs
– at just £10,000.
The great advantage of civil compensation, or damages, is that any conditions
caused by work are covered regardless of the level of disability. You
must prove your health has been damaged by your job and this was the result
of your employer’s negligence – the injury or illness was
foreseeable and your employer could reasonably have done something to
Unions take a disproportionately high number of the successful common
law cases. However, the 70 per cent plus of the working population who
are not in a union and don’t have access to free union legal services
must rely on the legal services market, claims farmers and assorted ambulance
chasers and can end up out of pocket or at least short-changed, because
of hidden charges or just bad, inexpert representation - despite the “no-win,
Insurers pay out around £600 million a year to settle common law
damages cases for industrial injuries and diseases. Accidents make up
about 75 per cent of common law payouts each year, with occupational diseases
contributing the remainder.
TABLE 2 Common law compensation
Top occupational diseases for 2003
||Vibration white finger
||Lung disease (over 80 per cent of this asbestos related settlements)
||Upper limb disorders
Based on ABI figures for 2003; figures cover 91 per cent of the UK insurance
TABLE 3 Common law compensation
No. cases and amounts paid
||Total cost of claims paid
||Average cost per claim £
||Estimated no. claims/year
Based on ABI figures. Compensation costs are the cost to personal injury
insurers, which includes any legal/admin costs as well as amount paid
What price on your life?
£10,000 FOR A SON Annie
Little, who saw her shipyard worker son Ian Cruickshank die a "horrible"
death aged 52 from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma was awarded
£10,000 damages in January 2005. The compensation award was
against the shipbuilders Fairfields, Upper Clyde Shipbuilders and
Govan Shipyards. Mrs Little's solicitor-advocate Frank Maguire of
Thompsons solicitors had argued for an award of £20,000, but
lawyers for the shipyards said £3,000 to £4,000 would
be appropriate. Judge Lord Brodie said £10,000 was "a
UNION DIVIDEND Chris Simmons, a member of
the union Community, was awarded nearly £620,000 in 2004.
Thanks to union backing, he secured more than 150 times the original
offer in a case that went to the House of Lords. A fall at British
Steel (now Corus) caused head injuries and led to a depressive disorder
and exacerbated a skin condition. The union had contest an earlier
award of £3,573.60 plus interest from the lower courts.
HOSTAGE PAYOUT NATFHE member Phil Danielson,
a former senior lecturer taken hostage for 44 hours by notorious
prisoner Charles Bronson was paid £35,000 compensation in
2004. The settlement with Hull City Council was for the severe post
trauma stress disorder he suffered as a result of the attack, which
was followed by three nervous breakdowns. It put an end to his teaching
Hazards workplace compensation
risk management equals lower costs
The sensible answer to Britain's disposal worker problem is not
more compensation, it is more protection - a point not lost on insurers.
A March 2005 report from the Association of British Insurers (ABI)
said improved risk management in the workplace is helping to contain
employers’ liability insurance costs for many businesses.
ABI says the rate of the average liability premium has "fallen
significantly" compared with two years ago, with average rate
rises now reflecting the level of personal injury claims inflation.
"There are encouraging signs that the painful but necessary
premium increases of the last couple of years and better risk management
are starting to ease the pressure on the liability insurance market,"
said Nick Starling, the ABI’s director of general insurance.
"Firms that manage their risks effectively will face lower
news release, 8 March 2005
Industrial injuries benefit
The DWP industrial injuries benefit scheme’s weekly benefit payments
are calculated on a sliding scale, depending on degree of disability.
However, with an average weekly payout of over £40, these can add
up to a significant amount over time. Another advantage is that the scheme
is “no fault” – you don’t have to show the injury
or ill-health resulted from your employer’s negligence.
But there are severe restrictions on who can claim, for what conditions
and in what circumstances. The scheme covers injuries and an inclusive
list of around 80 diseases in 67 categories known to be caused by work.
To qualify there are conditions to satisfy, including disability thresholds.
You must be “14 per cent disabled” for most health problems,
which is a significant level of incapacity.
There are time limits for occupational deafness and asthma, and rules
about what job you have done for other diseases. Many common conditions
- notably most RSIs and stress – are not compensated by the scheme.
About threequarters of all payouts are for industrial injuries, just
a quarter for prescribed industrial diseases.
Around £700 million is paid out each year.
TABLE 4 DWP prescribed disease benefits
Top occupational diseases
|| Bronchitis and emphysema
|| Vibration white finger
||Synovial inflammation (“beat” conditions)
||Diffuse pleural thickening
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Ranking is based on total numbers nationwide in
receipt of industrial injuries disablement benefit by condition.
Source: DWP industrial injuries benefits in payment figures, as of March
Almost all local authority employees should have access to a largely
unpublicised, union negotiated, no-fault scheme run alongside their pension
scheme. The NHS and the civil service run similar schemes. All can provide
exceptionally good benefits – it is crucial workers in public sector
jobs explore these options if they suffer work-related injury or ill-health.
Unions often assist members who have been victims of violence at work
to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
Other government schemes, like the massive miners’ scheme picking
up British Coal liabilities for compensation for white finger and lung
disease, can be enormously important to affected workers. There have also
been a series of single issue no-fault schemes set up by agreement between
unions and insurers, covering issues including occupational deafness and
radiation and other cancers caused by workplace exposures.
Workers can claim in more than one way for the same injury or illness,
but payments received are likely to be offset against one another (see
Both the JobCentrePlus decision on eligibility and assessment of level
of disability can be appealed, but this must be done promptly. Claimants
will need expert advice – from an experienced union rep or officer
or a welfare rights adviser, for example.
TABLE 5: Types of compensation
||Civil Damages (common law claims)
||State Industrial Injuries Scheme (DWP benefits)
||Criminal Injuries Compensation
||Analogous Industrial Injuries Scheme
here to view full table for the Hazards guide to claiming
TABLE 6: Interaction of claims
||Awards taken into account
|State means-tested benefits
||All payments apart from DLA
||Disability benefits, any state benefit relevant to the disease.
||Means-tested benefits, disability benefits, civil compensation
|Industrial Injuries Scheme
||Reduces state means-tested benefits, civil compensation
|State disability benefits
|Ill health retirement
|Sometimes Incapacity Benefit
||Some means- tested benefits
SECTION 4: Action
Safety rep checklist
The better your evidence, the better the chances a compensation claim
will be successful.
• Ensure all union members know the union should be the first
place they go if they have concerns about possible work-related ill-health
or are considering a claim.
• Keep copies of risk assessments on file, so you know who was
exposed to what hazards and where.
• Undertake risk and body mapping exercises – these can
uncover hidden links between jobs and ill-health, which can aid prevention
and claims. Keep dated copies, together with a summary of the key findings.
• Record in the accident book all symptoms linked to the job.
Always report problems, regardless of how trivial they may at first
• Inform management formally and at the first opportunity of
concerns about actual or potential work-related health risks.
• Make sure workers know to tell their GP about hazardous exposures
and that the GP records this in their medical notes.
• Ensure workplace occupational health records acknowledge workplace
risks and suspected work-related ill-health – remember, occupational
health records are in most cases entirely confidential (Hazards
• For some occupational disease claims, witness statements can
be the best evidence you can obtain – get statements from workers
or ex-workers familiar with workplace conditions that lead to the disease.
Workplace photographs can provide crucial evidence on working conditions.
• Remember, once a worker has been told there is a link between
their job and their ill-health, the compensation clock is ticking. Delay
too long and a compensation claim could be ruled out of time.
TABLE 7: The law on compensation
||Route to Claim
||Law of tort
||Solicitor. Solicitors specialising in personal injuries
are members of APIL, 11 Castle Quay, Nottingham NG7 1FW. 0115 958
||National Health Service (Injury Benefits) Regulations
||NHS Pension Scheme
||The Local Government (Discretionary Payments) Regulations
||Local Government Pension Scheme
|War Pension/Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
||Naval, Military and Air Forces Etc (Diablement and
Death) Service Pensions Order 1983
||Veterans Agency (formerly War Pensions), Norcross,
Blackpool FY5 3WP.
0800 169 2277. Online
|Criminal Injuries Compensation
||Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
Tay House, 300 Bath Street, Glasgow,
Freephone: 0800 358 3601.
Tel: 0141 331 2726
||Pneumoconiosis (Workmens' Compensation) Act 1979
4th Floor, Phoenix House, Stephen St.
|Analogous Industrial Injuries Scheme
||Department for Education and Skills Analogous Industrial
Injuries Scheme Room N3 Moorfoot Sheffield S1 4PQ
||Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992
|Scheme (Disablement Benefit)
||National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1965
||Claims are handled by regional centres.
1. Better routes to redress,
Better Regulation Taskforce, 2004. www.brtf.gov.uk
2. Occupational Health Statistics Bulletin 2003/04,
HSC, 2004. www.hse.gov.uk/statistics
3. Interim update of The costs to Britain of workplace
accidents and work-related ill-health in 1995/96, HSE, 2004.
4. Focus on legal services for injury victims,
5. A paper on the TUC approach to rehabilitation,
April 2004. more
HSE mesothelioma incidence statistics.
7. DWP Industrial
Injuries Disablement Benefit statistics, September 2004.
8.Tom Treasure, Artyom Sedrakyan.
mesothelioma: Little evidence, still time to do trials.
Lancet, volume 364, pages 1183-85, 2004. View
full text online
9. Asbestos related disease
statistics – FAQ, HSE, March 2005. [pdf]
10. Henning Wriedt, Arbeit
und Gesundheit, personal communication, 16 September 2003.
11. Industrial Injuries Advisory
accessed 6 May 2005 and information provided by DWP.
Common law claims: Association of Personal Injury
Lawyers (APIL), 11 Castle Quay, Nottingham, NG7 1FW. 0115 958 0585. Homepage
DWP industrial injuries benefit: JobCentrePlus
guide • Prescribed
diseases guide •
DWP guide to IIDB [pdf]
Criminal injuries: Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, Tay House,
300 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4LN. Freephone: 0800 358 3601. Tel: 0141
331 2726. Homepage
Civil service injury benefits scheme. Online guide [pdf]
Guide to the NHS injuries benefit scheme. Online guide [pdf]Pneumoconiosis:
JobCentrePlus. Freephone 0800 279 2322. Online
Miners’ compensation for bronchitis and emphysema and vibration
white finger, DTI
Use the Hazards
detective to see if you job is making you sick.
benefits after an accident or disease under the Industrial Injuries Scheme
WorkSmart guide to common law compensation claims