Scaled Management Systems

Part 1 – Liability and Duty of Care

Liability & Duty of Care: Part 1

 What is liability?

  • A state of being liable
  • A condition of owning something opposite to an asset
  • A disadvantage
  • A risk to business
  • A legislative concept derived from the common law principle of an employer’s duty of care
  • The basis for action in minimising risk

Employer’s Duty of Care

  • An employer’s liability is a legislative concept having its roots in Common Law
  • Originally this extended to a Duty of Care over fellow servants
  • This responsibility could not be fully delegated
  • However via authority, the implementation of responsibility can be delegated
  • Note the similarities in interpretation with the clauses in recently updated WHS law (2012)
  • Fundamentally nothing has changed and an employer still has a duty of care to contractors, employees and members of the public

Liability themes are common in all legislation

  • Lord Thankerton, UK established the ‘Duty of Care’ concepts into British legislation: UK Law on line – Donoghue vs Stevenson
  • Safety is paramount
  • A master owes duties to a servant
  • A supplier owes care to a client
  • In society we have a duty of care to each other
  • Breaches of duty of care aren’t affected by the action of fellow servants
  • Performance of duty of care is the absolute responsibility of the employer (Lord Wright – Lord Wright and Innovative Traditionalism – Duxbury)