4.1.1 Personal Liability - Introduction

Welcome to the first lesson of the fourth topic in this module guide – Employers’ Liability; Personal Liability! An employers’ liability to his employees can be both derived from the common law and statutory. The common law aspect is concerned with the employers’ personal liability to ensure the physical safety of his employees.

At the end of this section, you should be comfortable defining an employers’ common law duties to his employees with regards to safety. You should be able to define the elements relating to the reasonable duty of care to ensure the safety of employees and also understand how this duty relates to individual employees.

This section begins by exploring the duties owed by an employer before defining the four main elements regarding ensuring the safety of employees. It deals with these in turn, addressing the place of work, equipment and materials, systems of work and competent staff in detail. Finally, the section addresses a handful of other rules and principles applying to employers’ common law duties including that the imposition of a duty of care must be fair, just and reasonable, how the duty applies with respect to different employees and possible defences to liability.,

Goals for this section:

  • To understand what duties an employer has to his employees personally under common law.

Objectives for this section:

  • To know the general duty of ensuring the safety of employees and how this relates to certain factual scenarios
  • To know how the duty applies to certain types of employee.
  • To appreciate possible defences to the common law duties of the employer.

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