• Robert Spicer

Health and safety in a war context

Comparative health and safety in a war context



Reports of health and safety prosecutions cover, with depressing regularity, incidents involving deaths and injuries caused by crushing. For example, an eighteen-year old worker, crushed by an unguarded industrial machine, lies dying in an English hospital. In Iraq, an eighteen-year old worker, crushed by British and American military operations, also lies dying in hospital. Physically and medically, there is no difference between the two. Both are innocent young human beings whose lives have been cut short by others.

Those responsible for the death of the first young man will almost certainly be prosecuted for health and safety offences and perhaps for manslaughter. His dependants are likely to receive financial compensation for his death. Those responsible for the second will not be held accountable in civil or criminal courts.

What is the difference? Physically, mentally and morally, none. In terms of law, it would probably be argued that the second is an unfortunate victim of an act of war. But we were under the general impression that war is illegal under international law. Not this War, those responsible would respond. But the great majority of international lawyers take the view that the Iraq War was illegal. The legal justification argument carries no weight.

Further arguments, involving political and military expediency, are also invalid. There is no justification for the second death. No justification, whether moral, ethical, legal, political or military. The fact that there is no justification debases legality and warps justice so that it becomes unrecognisable. English law has severed any connection with morality until it condemns the Iraq War and brings the war criminals to trial.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

COMPARATIVE HEALTH AND SAFETY

COMPARATIVE HEALTH AND SAFETY I have now completed more than 20 international health and safety topics for publication. These have covered individual countries from the richest to the poorest in the w

Health and safety and automatically unfair dismissal

UNFAIR DISMISSAL: Automatically unfair: Health and safety activities In the recent case of Sinclair v Trackwork Ltd, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) gave guidance on these issues. The facts, in s

ELF ‘N’ SAFETY: THE REALITY

Those who ridicule health and safety as “Elf ‘n’ Safety” and who argue for deregulation and a reduction in red tape, need to be aware of the horrific consequences of breaches of health and safety law