Section 69 of the act impacts on workers who could once rely on breaches of health and safety regulations to establish liability against the employer. Before the Act, there was a presumption that ‘breach’ of a regulation would mean liability would attach to an employer, so allowing an injured worker to claim on that breach (in other words, liability was ‘strict’) – as per the old S47 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which has now been amended. The worker now has a much tougher task in proving the employer was negligent (i.e. that they failed in their duty of care to the worker and exposed them to a foreseeable risk of injury).
The issue is relevant to offshore accidents and something which must be borne in mind where there are a number of options as to which Law (i.e. English or otherwise) a claimant might pursue their claim under. They ought to consider which law gives them a better chance of succeeding in a claim.
So, a layer of redress in the UK courts has been essentially removed by an Act of Parliament – the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. The current Government pushed the bill through for want of removing the shackles of businesses to enable them to prosper and profit without the fear of being sued by injured workers. That is sad to see when one considers that workers are the cogs which allow businesses to survive and prosper.
It remains to be seen whether the Act will lead to lower numbers of claims or whether it will in reality mean more red tape for businesses and leave them open to harder fought court cases.