Fire Brigades Union forces government to back down over safety

The Government has agreed to amend the legislation banning workers from taking civil legal action against Employers who fail to comply with the European Directive on Health and Safety Regulations.

The Fire Brigades Union started a campaign to change the eight-year-old law because of frustration with Fire Authorities that were refusing to undertake risk assessments in the 1990s.

The Fire Brigades Union believes that the death of their member Roderick Nicolson, a Tayside Firefighter who was killed whilst rescuing two men trapped in a silo in 1995, can be blamed on the failure of the Fire Authority to carry out a risk assessment.

Dave Patton, Fire Brigades Union National Health & Safety Officer, said: “When the truth came out about our member’s death in Tayside and we discovered the Government had not complied with the European Directive in 1993, we commissioned Thompsons Solicitors to act on our behalf and began a campaign within the European Commission. After six years of hard campaigning, the European Commission has forced the UK Government to change the law.”

Andy Gilchrist, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary, said: “This is a victory for all British workers. It will mean that Employers will have to start taking Health and Safety issues seriously otherwise they will end up in Court.”

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