Workplace Law

Workplace safety and Technology
The area that is of most importance to the workplace and the one that has experienced extraordinary changes since the Industrial revolution is workplace safety. Workplace safety refers to the provision of a safe place to work and safe equipment, and the institution of appropriate training procedures and work systems. The courts usually decide what is safe by reference to any relevant legislation and the facts of the individual case. In the case of Mc Carthy v. Coldair Ltd (1951), Lord Denning suggested that 'safe' is the converse of 'dangerous.' It means safe for all contingencies that may reasonably be for seen, unlikely as well as likely, possible as well as probate.

Within the workplace, safety is a critical issue and the duty of that comes under the employer. In the case of Wilson & Clyde Coal Co v. English (1938) it stated three main duties of the employer including providing competent fellow employees, adequate plant or premises to work from and a safe system of work. This duty of care comes under scrutiny in the case of Paris vs. Stepney Borough Council (1951). The case involved metal worker Mr Paris who was blinded by a metal chip in his only functioning eye. Employers owned Mr Paris a duty of care in not providing him with goggles. Mr Paris won after successfully appealing to the House of Lords.

The recent history of workplace safety law goes back to 1972 in the Robens Report that found defects in safety legislation in England at the time and criticised worker apathy towards safety. In NSW in 1981, the Williams Report was handed down and within its findings found NSW legislation based on the English system didn't adequately prevent workplace incidents, showing how effective workplace laws were. Recommendations were made for changes and the government responded to these changes through the introduction of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983 (NSW). Changes that were made included...