Civil liability

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 has included a measure that removes strict liability in respect of most accidents at work. This reverses the previous provision whereby an employee who suffered an injury at work could automatically make a civil claim for personal injury if their injury arose as a result of a breach of duty imposed by the criminal law. This led to employers being liable to pay compensation in situations where they could not have done any more to protect their employee. For example, if no risk assessment had been carried out even such an assessment would have found that no injury was foreseeable.

A claimant must now demonstrate that the injury arose from a breach of duty and the employer has been negligent, not simply that a regulation wasn’t complied with. The test for negligence is that of “the reasonable and prudent employer taking positive thought for the safety of his workers in light of what he knows or ought to know.”

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