Duty of Care

Employee going to Hospital Sick Employee

Under common law [Health and Safety at Work Act 1974], employers must take reasonable care to protect their employees from the risks of foreseeable injury, disease or death at work and/or damage to their property.


If an employer is aware of a health and safety risk to employees or in the light of current knowledge at that time, to have known of the existence of a hazard, he will be liable if an employee is injured or killed or suffers illness as a result of the risk, or if the employer failed to take reasonable care to avoid this happening.


The common law duties require that all employers provide and maintain:


  • A safe place of work with safe means of access to and egress from it.
  • Adequate training and supervision.
  • Safe appliances, equipment and plant for doing the work.
  • A safe system for doing that work.
  • Competent and safety-conscious personnel.


These duties apply even though an employee may be working on a third party's premises or where an employee has been hired out to another employer, but where the control of the task still lies with the permanent employer.       

(Information by National Health & Safety Company Ltd 10th March 2010)



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