Section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 will be amended once Section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 is brought into force.
The amendment will provide
“(2) Breach of a duty imposed by a statutory instrument containing (whether alone or with other provision) health and safety regulations shall not be actionable except to the extent that regulations under this section so provide.
(2A) Breach of a duty imposed by an existing statutory provision shall not be actionable except to the extent that regulations under this section so provide (including by modifying any of the existing statutory provisions).
(2B) Regulations under this section may include provision for—
(a) a defence to be available in any action for breach of the duty mentioned in subsection (2) or (2A);
(b) any term of an agreement which purports to exclude or restrict any liability for such a breach to be void.”
Commentators fear that the amendments to Section 47 HSWA 1974 will turn back the clock and mean the end of breach of statutory duty as we know it.
I am not so convinced.
In this part of the blog I will be exploring the impact that the new Section 47 might have on whether people at work (‘workers’) will be able to claim if they are injured.