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MoD ‘breaking its own safety rules’

Posted in: Armed Forces Injuries Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries 

Two lawyers are to inform MPs that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has repeatedly failed to follow its own safety guidelines on a number of occasions, leading to hundreds of injuries each year for military personnel. The lawyers will tell the Defence Select Committee inquiry that the regulations are being routinely ignored, and, that had they not been ignored, the deaths of three soldiers during an SAS selection course would have been prevented.

The three army reservists – Edward Maher, Craig Roberts and James Dunsby – had been taking part in an SAS selection course in the Brecton Beacons in 2013 when they all collapsed. The course involved an arduous march over Pen y Fan, during which the men collapsed and subsequently died. It was later concluded by a coroner than their deaths were caused by a catalogue of “serious mistakes and systematic failures” – amounting to neglect.

More fatalities during training than war

The Defence Select Committee inquiry – chaired by Bridgend Labour MP Madeleine Moon – has already heard evidence of 131 military personnel killed in training exercises between 2000 and 2015. The inquiry was informed this week that exercises actually injure hundreds more. One lawyer pointed out that there are in fact more injuries and fatalities during the training for war than during war itself. 

The MoD declined comment while the inquiry continues, but Brigadier John Donnelley did apologise for the deaths of the “three fine soldiers” and stated that testing exercises have since been altered. He said: “We have already made a number of changes to the exercise in terms of the way it is run as a result of our own investigations and from those of the Health and Safety Executive”.

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