02 September, 2020
To what extent should a breach of Health and Safety Regulations affect a finding of negligence since S69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013?
A recent Scottish case looked at the relevance of the so called "six pack" of health and safety regulations in ascertaining whether there was negligence in a workplace claim.
Since the coming into force of Section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 it has not been possible for a claimant in a personal injury claims to allege, without more, that a breach of the regulations in and of itself amounted to a breach for which liability will attach. They have to go on to prove negligence on the part of the defendant. There have been limited cases brought to court to test what the impact of that actually is in practice. However there have been a recent Scottish case that explored this. Whilst Scotland has a different jurisdiction to England and Wales the issues are applicable as the law in this area is virtually identical.
In the case of Wright v the National Galleries of Scotland the Sheriff Appeal Court in Scotland stated that "the regulations remain a source of statutory duties with which employers and occupiers require to comply" and found that the regulations specify what duties are owed by a defendant in relation to the workplace when considering if there has been a breach of duty. As such the defendant in the case ought to have had regard to them when considering the safety of the workplace.
This is a useful case looking at the relevance of the "six pack" regulations in personal injury negligence claims in the workplace. All cases depend on their own facts but the parties do need to consider the regulations when deciding whether there has been breach of duty.