The House of Lords in a decision on the applicability of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (‘PUWER’) has restricted the protection offered to employees injured by defective equipment in the course of their employment. Good news for employers perhaps, but also a common sense decision, appearing to remove what would otherwise be strict liability for injury caused by defects in equipment which is outside the control of the employer.

The case raises wider issues, and the decision has interesting implications for areas such as employee vehicles, which are frequently used for work purposes.

In Smith v Northamptonshire County Council [2009] UKHL 27, the law lords had to decide whether equipment suppl...

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