Following the death of another military service person during training, Thompsons comments on the Ministry of Defence’s responsibility as an employer to keep its personnel safe and its liability when things go wrong.

Danger and risk to life is part and parcel of the job to military personnel in active service, but no one should expect to die or be seriously injured during training. Military training may need to be gruelling and demanding and by its nature, brings with it a higher than average risk of personal injury, but that doesn’t mean the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as an employer doesn’t have responsibilities towards their staff and a duty of care to discharge.

Government statistics show that between 1 January 2000 and 29 February 2020, 148 military service personnel died during training exercises, equivalent to six percent of all military deaths over the same period (2,683).

In February 2020, the BBC alleged following an investigation that the MOD had breached health and safety laws 40 times during training exercises since 2000.


Image of soldiers from behind marching in single file

Trevor Hall, a serious injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors with significant experience in military claims, commented: “Whatever the level of risk involved, it is always an employer’s responsibility - in this case the MOD - to carry out adequate risk assessments and to provide appropriate training and equipment for personnel to do their jobs as safely and securely as possible.

“We fear that a lack of rigour by the MOD has morphed into a cavalier attitude to health and safety leading to avoidable accidents, sometimes with fatal consequences.”

Thompsons has dealt with more than 100 cases against the Ministry of Defence, recovering approximately £20m in compensation for injured soldiers. For more information, visit our military injury claims page.