Section 69 of the Enterprise & Regulatory Bill came into force on 1st October, which effectively removed strict liability from employer’s liability cases.
The Act, which will replace section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, will place the burden of proof onto the claimant and requires them to prove their employer was negligent. Under the previous practise the employee is only required to prove that a statutory breach of health and safety occurred, which requires a much lower standard of evidence.
Matthew Stockwell, President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers believes it will be incredibly hard for claimants to prove negligence because the employers hold all the evidence, such as previous risk reports and maintenance records. He said “Many people will inevitably shy away from making claims altogether. The negligent employer will then avoid making amends, leaving the state to pick up the tab for medical care and any benefits arising from the injury.”
Claims will be affected by the change if the accident happened post October 1st, and Mr Stockwell believes “rogue employers” may be more likely to “cut corners” on health and safety because they are more likely to get away with it.