Workplace Accidents: Enterprise Reform Act 2013 – Bad News for Unions and their members


The new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which comes into force on 1st October 2013, will have far reaching implications for workplace accidents.

Access to Justice for Accidents at work victims

What this means for employees

The new legislation will only apply to breaches after 1st October 2013.

Before this date, you only had to prove that:

  • You suffered an injury
  • Your injury was caused by your employer

So, under the previous rules, if you were injured at work as a result of using defective machinery, your employer would be automatically liable for the injuries. You would not need to show that the employer should have reasonably foreseen the accident would happen. Even if they had an efficient maintenance system, this would not prevent them from being liable for your accident.

However, this is no longer the case. Employers will no longer be considered automatically liable for injuries in accident cases.

When this new Act comes into force, it will make it harder for some employees to successfully claim damages against employers for their injuries.

Restricting employees access to justice

Prime Minister, David Cameron was quoted as saying: "Health and safety has become an albatross around the neck of British businesses" and that he wanted to kill off the health and safety reforms for good.

Professor Lofstedt, who advised the government on the new Act, commented that the reforms would help to reclaim the reputation of health and safety. He believes that it has been damaged by the "excesses of the compensation culture".

His comment ignores the thousands of legitimate accident claims that have been brought by injured employees as a result of bad work practices.

If the injured employee's solicitor is on a 'no win no fee' basis then, usually, they will not be paid if they do not settle or win the case.

This then means that solicitors have no incentive other than to run anything but legitimate claims for injured employees. They will not be paid if they run spurious claims that lose. This new Enterprise Reform Act is another example of further restrictions on access to justice.

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