HL Deb 07 July 1980 vol 411 cc1012-4WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In how many cases in each year since 1945 has compensation been paid for death or personal injury arising from work with radioactive materials; how these cases were distributed as between persons engaged in research, defence and electricity-generation; in how many cases was the compensation paid following a court judgment or arbitration award; and if any of the above information is not available, why this is so.

3. Lord SANDYS

The following information is available:

1. Workmen's Compensation Acts
Table 1
Calendar year Certificates of disablement for radiation disease—all industries
1936–1946 5
1948 13

No details of death cases are available.

2. The Workmen's Compensation Acts were repealed by the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946 which introduced the industrial injuries scheme on 5th July 1948. Under that scheme, the following awards of benefit have been made in respect of persons suffering from prescribed disease number 25 (which is defined as: "inflammation, ulceration or malignant disease of the skin or subcutaneous tissues or of the bones, or blood dyscrasia, or cataract, due to electromagnetic radiations (other than radiant heat), or to ionising particles").

Table 2
Injury benefit and disablement benefit not preceded by injury benefit
Year (June to June) Electrical Machinery Radio and electronic components, broadcasting, receiving and sound reproducing equipment, electronic computers Electricity National Government Service
1959–60 1
1971–72 1
1973–74 1 1

Table 3
Death Benefit Awaids Calendar year Death benefit—all industries
1955 2
1957 1
1959 1
1960 1
1961 1
1968 2
1969 1
1972 2
1975 3
1977 1
1978 2

Pneumoconiosis, Byssinosis and Miscellaneous Diseases Benefit Scheme

Table 4
Disablement awards
1975 1
1976 1

The details quoted above are based on the latest available information. The industries shown in Table 2 are those in the standard industrial classification, under which the statistics are collected, which most nearly correspond to those specified in the question.

4. Information about court or arbitration awards in respect of industrial accidents and diseases is not held because those awards do not affect title to benefit.

5. The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and British Nuclear Fuels Limited have made compensation payments in respect of certain claims alleging death or personal injury to have been caused to employees by exposure to radiation, or the radioactive properties of materials during the course of their work. In all cases the level of compensation payment was agreed with the claimants and was not the subject of a court judgment or arbitration award. In 1962 the UKAEA paid compensation in respect of the death of a worker and in 1957, 1959 and 1967 paid compensation in respect of injury claims. BNFL has paid compensation in respect of three claims following the death of former employees, of which two payments were made in 1977 and the third in 1979. In none of the cases in question was exposure proved to have been the cause of death or injury and compensation was paid having regard to the degree of probabilities.

House adjourned at three minutes past eleven o'clock.