Government attempts to tackle 'compensation culture'

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 came into force on 1 October 2013 amending the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, removing a worker’s right under civil law to claim compensation following an accident or injury caused by their employer’s breach of health and safety regulations.

The intention of the Government was to tackle the ‘compensation culture’ and protect employers from paying compensation where they did all that was reasonably expected to protect the health and safety of their employees. However, the amendments undermine significant progress which has been made in terms of health and safety legislation. It is now going to be more difficult to obtain appropriate compensation for their injuries or loss. Workers must now prove that the employer was negligent. Further, there is concern that the new legislation will reduce health and safety standards in the workplace across the UK by sending the wrong signals to employers.

Criminal liability for breaches of health and safety legislation remains unaltered by the amendment.

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