The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
On 1 October 2013, section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA 2013) came into force. For workplace accidents occurring from that date, civil liability no longer arises from a breach of health and safety statutory duty unless the relevant regulation provides for it.
Practitioners now have to prove the common law of negligence. While it will no longer be appropriate to base a claim on the breach of a regulation, claimant practitioners are very likely to still refer extensively to the relevant statutory provisions (or at least recite what they say) as setting out the standards of care expected. Indeed, in many cases the regulations can be referred to (in statements of case) as setting out procedures for the identification and assessment of risk and the implementation of measures in the light of the assessment.
Claims should be based in negligence, relying on breach of a regulation as evidence of the negligence. The claimant will (usually) need to prove that the defendant failed to take reasonable care for its employee’s health and safety. Defendant practitioners should be alive to this and any opportunities to argue that their client took all reasonable care. The fact that there may have been a contravention of a safety at work regulation does not necessarily mean that there has been negligence at common law.
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