Prior to the passing of this Act, an employer would not be liable to his worker in negligence if the accident was caused by the act or omission of one of worker’s fellow employees. The 1880 remedied this (albeit on the basis that workers claiming under the 1880 Act received only a modest amount of compensation.

Sections 1 and 2 are of interest because they show liability being imposed in respect of work equipment but the liability being restricted to place where the employer had been negligent in relation to defects or a failure to discover or remedy them. This would appear to achieve a similar result to the mooted changes to Section 47 Health and Safety At Work Act 1974.

[For another way of dealing with this issue see the Coal Mines Act 1911.] [ see also the Liability of Ship Owners Act]

Sections 1 and 2 read as follows,

Sec 1

where…personal injury is caused to a workman

(1) By reason of any defect in the condition of the ways, works, machinery or plant connected with or used in the business of the employer; …

The workman…shall have the same right of compensation and remedies against the employer as if the workman had not been a workman of nor in the service of the employer, nor engaged in his work.

Sec  2

A workman shall not be entitled under this Act to any right of compensation or remedy against the employer in any of the following cases (that is to say):-

(1) under sub-sec 1 of sec 1, unless the defect therein mentioned arose from, or had not been discovered, or remedied  owing to the negligence of the employer, or of some person in the service of the employer, and entrusted by him with the duty of seeing that the ways, works, machinery, or plant were in proper condition.