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Health warning at work

View profile for Philip Richardson
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PC David Rathband is suing the police force who he worked for during Raoul Moat’s attacks in July 2010 for their failure to protect his health and safety whilst on duty. It is a stark reminder of every employer’s implied duty of care to reasonably protect the health and safety of its employees. 
On 04 July 2010 PC David Rathband was sat unarmed in his patrol car on a round-a-bout on the A1 when Moat approached his vehicle and shot him in the face, blinding and almost killing him. PC Rathband alleges that he had not been warned by his employer of the risk that Moat posed to him, despite the fact that shortly before Moat had made his chilling warning that he was “armed and hunting for officers” to a 999 call operator. PC Rathband alleges that he was left as a “sitting duck” by his employer.
PC Rathband now claims that his employer should have warned him and taken precautions given the serious risk to his health and safety. 
This comes as a frank reminder to employers to ensure their employees are not put in situations which put their health and safety at risk. Thankfully, the vast majority of employees will not face the risk that PC Rathband and his colleagues faced with Moat, but there may be aspects of an employee’s working environment that do cause health and safety concerns. Every employer owes a duty of care to each and every employee to provide a reasonably healthy and safe working environment. Whilst not an issue in this case, it also worth bearing in mind that special protection is afforded to employees who raise genuine health and safety concerns with their employer should they then be treated unfairly or even dismissed as a result of raising these issues.
By employment law specialist, Kate Hancock