June/July 2021 (vol. 18/1)

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Expert Witness: Refusing to work in an unsafe workplace

Employment protection under the Employment Rights Act


OH law expert Professor Diana Kloss considers the legal protections for workers who refuse to attend work or take other action on health and safety grounds.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the dilemma of workers whose contract demands attendance in a workplace that places them at increased risk to their health and safety. For centuries, people who worked in hazardous environments, like factories and mines, were often aware that they were exposed daily to the risk of death or injury but were compelled by the need to earn a wage to assume those risks. Legislation imposing duties on employers to protect workers – and an inspectorate appointed to enforce those laws – has reduced the risk, but it can never be completely effective. There will always be employers who place profit ahead of the protection of the workforce, or are simply careless…

Diana Kloss is a barrister, former part-time employment judge, Acas arbitrator and author.

Author: Kloss D


Occupational Health at Work June/July 2021 (vol. 18/1) pp37-38

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