Coroners Review Team and Work-Related Deaths
Key points relating to Work-Related Deaths
There will continue to be inquests into 'Work-place'
Currently, all formally reportable work-related deaths
will have an inquest. The Consultation document published
in .... suggested that there would be no automatic
inquest. It stated:
consider that there should be a strong presumption
in favour of public inquests into all deaths of
prisoners, people compulsorily detained under
Mental Health Act powers, and at the hands of
the law and order services. It is not so clear
that deaths in some other categories should automatically
be investigated in formal public inquests.
particularly have in mind cases in which people
take their own lives, deaths on the road, deaths
from occupational disease and accidents at work.
These are all categories of deaths which some
coroners have themselves mentioned when asked
if there were some inquests which they think less
useful than others, or less suitable for automatic
formal judicial investigation in public.
chapter 7 of the final report makes clear that there
will be inquests into
traumatic work-place death in which industrial process
or activity is implicated"
is not clear however what the Review team mean by:
'Work Place' death
Does it include members of the public who
die as a result of workplace activities?
process or activity'
about agricultural or service sector deaths
where an 'industrial process or activity'
is not involved but do involve workplace activities?
present there are inquests into all 'work-related'
deaths involving either workers or members of the
inquests into workplace deaths that take place
final report states that there would be no automatic
right for an inquest if the death takes place abroad
- which at present there is. The report states at
chapter 21, para 66:
should be discretion, to be exercised on reasonable
grounds, over whether to hold a public inquest when
a UK resident dies abroad and the body is repatriated
into England or Wales, and the circumstances of
the death are unclear or otherwise needing explanation.
The circumstances most likely to justify public
inquests are (a) where there are issues about the
precautions take or the plans made by the domestic
organisers or collective trips abroad, particularly
for children and young people and (b) there are
mass disasters abroad with significant loss of British
shall be no juries present at workplace inquests
final report states that juries should only be involved
"someone compulsorily in the care of the state
has died in unclear circumstances, or where a death
may have been caused by agents of the state ...
and in other cases which fall within Article 2 of
the European Convention on Human Rights but not
in other cases" (Chapter 9, para 51 and 2)
will be specialist coroners set up to deal with
final report states that:
the new national coroner jurisdiction are set up
investigation of workplace deaths should be regarded
as a specialist function on which expertise would
be concentrated in one coroner in each of the new
coroner areas or perhaps even one coroner in each
region. A similar specialisaion should be encouraged
in a small number of coroners officers."
Health and Safety Executive and other regulatory
bodies should give reasons to families if they
decide not to prosecute following a death
Health and Safety Executive and the other enforcement
agencies should consider how far they might follow
the practice of the CPS in cases involving a death
and offer bereaved families an opportunity to give
a view of whether they should prosecute and explain
their decisions to families"
is an important new proposal. The CCA has been involved
in discussions with the HSE about their policy on
providing detailed reasons to bereaved families
of the nature of the inquiry undertaken by Coroners.
This will effect all deaths, not just workplace
30 and 31 of Chapter 21 states:
outcome of the inquest should be primarily a factual
account of the cause and circumstances of the death
and an analysis of whether there were systemic failings
which had they not existed might have prevented
it, should in suitable cases examine whether there
was a real and immediate risk to life and whether
the authorities took, or failed to take, reasonable
steps to prevent it.
The analysis should include the regulatory or safety
regimes designed to protect people from risk in
the circumstances of the death, and wither or not
they were properly observed or were, so far as the
evidence shows, adequate.
will be no verdicts given after the inquest. This
will effect all deaths, not just workplace deaths.
There will instead be 'narrative verdicts'.
CCA contact details: 020 7 490 4494 or