The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council and Covid-19

The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) is an independent scientific body established under the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946, which came into effect on 5 July 1948. With members including some of the country’s most prominent physicians and epidemiologists, its role is to advise the Department for Work and Pensions (Great Britain) and the Department for Communities (Northern Ireland) on matters relating to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). This statutory no fault scheme pays out to those who become disabled as a result of a work-related accident or due to a specific listed disease directly caused by their job.

Covid-19 – a prescribed disease?

With Covid-19 cases continuing to increase significantly, the Council has now launched an investigation into the link between the workplace and Covid-19, using data taken from the Organisation for National Statistics (ONS) and emerging scientific research on the disease. This investigation includes the question of whether it should become a ‘prescribed disease’ under the Social Security (Contributions and Benefits) Act 1992, and therefore eligible for IIDB.

Should Covid-19 be listed as a prescribed disease, this will be important for employees who contract the disease, and for their beneficiaries if the disease results in death. This will be particularly true if a negligence claim against their employer proves difficult (see below).

It should also be noted that the government has the power under certain circumstances to award bereavement payments to the widows of employees who suffer a fatal industrial disease. In addition, the families of health workers who die after contracting Covid-19 are entitled to a lump sum payment of £60,000 from the government.

The IIAC and employment law

Since the pandemic hit the UK, bereavement and personal injury claims against employers, arising out of a negligent failure to comply with government social distancing guidelines, have been steadily mounting.

The IIAC retains a limited number of independent legal advisers, one of whom is Woodfines’ Keith Corkan, an employment consultant with over 20 years’ experience. His experience with the IIAC is invaluable at present, as the assessment criteria for IIDB under the statutory no fault scheme bear important similarities to the process for calculating the personal injury loss and damage caused by an employer’s negligence. Having an expert who understands the criteria for assessing both forms of compensation puts Woodfines in a unique position to help.

Singular expertise for unique times

Here at Woodfines, we have been acting for clients on a wide range of Covid-related employment law and personal injury cases for many months now. With government guidelines and the law changing constantly in response to the disease, our experience and links with the IIAC mean that we are in the very best position to assist our clients, whatever the nature of their claim may be.

To get in contact with our Employment Law team, please email employmentlaw@woodfines.co.uk.

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