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Employers exempt from automatic workplace injury liability

Employers can breathe a collective sigh of relief as it has been reported that they will no longer be liable for workplace injuries regardless of fault, under reforms to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. But is it that simple?

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Please note: This legislation came into effect in October 2013

Previously, under the Health and Safety at Work Act, employers have a civil liability for breaches of statutory duty in relation to health and safety regulations regardless of whether they did anything to cause the breach or acted negligently.

Following the Löfstedt review into health and safety legislation, which was published earlier this year, the Government has confirmed that it will reduce the regulatory burden of automatic liability on businesses.

This is especially good news for small and medium-sized businesses that have seen insurance premiums rise with an increase in workplace injury claims.

The change, announced as part of an amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, is one of a package of measures to strengthen the business environment and cut unnecessary business red tape in order to help businesses grow.

Other new proposals confirmed in the draft Bill include removing employer liability for third party harassment, reforming the planning consents regime for listed buildings and simplifying the bankruptcy procedure for individuals by removing the court process when it is not needed.

Other previously confirmed changes in the Bill include the overhaul of the employment tribunal system, a more efficient competition law regime and reducing the burden of regulation on businesses. For more advice on health and safety or business law, call the Forum's member helpline on 0845 130 1722.