As part of Professor Löfstedt’s independent review of health and safety legislation within the UK, the role it has within the civil justice system was reviewed to consider and reduce the ‘compensation culture’.
The main purpose of the legislation, from a health and safety perspective, is to address the unfairness to organisations that arises when a claim against them is raised and they are liable to pay compensation to an employee even though they have taken all reasonable measures to protect their health and safety.
As a result of the Bill, Section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 has been amended and in future, civil claims for breach of health and safety duties can only be raised where it can be proved an employer has been negligent rather than purely as a result of a breach of a statutory duty. The Bill ensures that organisations have the opportunity to defend themselves when they can demonstrate they have taken all reasonably practicable steps.
Although the Bill changes the impact health and safety has within the civil justice system, it continues to maintain current standards of health and safety and the provision of protection from a criminal liability point of view.