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British Workmen's Compensation Act of 1906.
AN ACT to consolidate and amend the law with respect to compensation to workmen for injuries suffered in the course of their employment [21st December, 1906].
Be it enacted by . . . Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
1. (1) If in any employment personal injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment is caused to a workman, his employer shall, subject as hereinafter mentioned, be liable to pay compensation in accordance with the first schedule to this act.
(a) The employer shall not be liable under this act in respect of any injury which does not disable the workman for a period of at least one week from earning full wages at the work at which he was employed:
(b) When the injury was caused by the personal negligence or willful act of the employer or of some person for whose act or default the employer is responsible, nothing in this act shall affect any civil liability of the employer, but in that case the workman may, at his option, either claim compensation under this act or take proceedings independently of this act; but the employer shall not be liable to pay compensation for injury to a workman by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment both independently of and also under this act, and shall not be liable to any proceedings independently of this act, except in case of such personal negligence or willful act as aforesaid:
(c) If it is proved that the injury to a workman is attributable to the serious and willful misconduct of that workman, any compensation claimed in respect of that injury shall, unless the injury results in death or serious and permanent disablement, be disallowed.
(3) If any question arises in any proceedings under this act as to the liability to pay compensation under this act (including any question as to whether the person injured is a workman to whom this act applies), or as to the amount or duration of compensation under this act, the question, if not settled by agreement, shall, subject to the provisions of the first schedule to this act, be settled by arbitration, in accordance with the second schedule to this act.
(4) If, within the time hereinafter in this act limited for taking proceedings, an action is brought to recover damages independently of this act for injury caused by any accident, and it is determined in such action that the injury is one for which the employer is not liable in such action, but that he would have been liable to pay compensation under the provisions of this act, the action shall be dismissed; but the court in which the action is tried shall, if the plaintiff so choose, proceed to assess such compensation, but may deduct from such compensation all or part of the costs which, in its judgment, have been caused by the
plaintiff bringing the action instead of proceeding under this act. In any proceeding under this subsection, when the court assesses the compensation it shall give a certificate of the compensation it has awarded and the directions it has given as to the deduction for costs, and such certificate shall have the force and effect of an award under this act. (5) Nothing in this act shall affect any proceeding for a fine under the enactments relating to mines, factories, or workshops, or the application of any such fine.
2. (1) Proceedings for the recovery under this act of compensation for an injury shall not be maintainable unless notice of the accident has been given as soon as practicable after the happening thereof and before the workman has voluntarily left the employment in which he was injured, and unless the claim for compensation with respect to such accident has been made within six months from the occurrence of the accident causing the injury, or, in case of death, within six months from the time of death:
(a) the want of or any defect or inaccuracy in such notice shall not be a bar to the maintenance of such proceedings if it is found in the proceedings for settling the claim that the employer is not, or would not, if a notice or an amended notice were then given and the hearing postponed, be prejudiced in his defense by the want, defect, or inaccuracy, or that such want, defect, or inaccuracy was occasioned by mistake, absence from the United Kingdom, or other reasonable cause; and
(b) the failure to make a claim within the period above specified shall not be a bar to the maintenance of such proceedings if it is found that the failure was occasioned by mistake, absence from the United Kingdom, or other reasonable cause.
(2) Notice in respect of an injury under this act shall give the name and address of the person injured, and shall state in ordinary language the cause of the injury and the date at which the accident happened, and shall be served on the employer, or, if there is more than one employer, upon one of such employers.
(3) The notice may be served by delivering the same at, or sending it by post in a registered letter addressed to, the residence or place of business of the person on whom it is to be served.
(4) Where the employer is a body of persons, corporate or unincorporate, the notice may also be served by delivering the same at, or by sending it by post in a registered letter addressed to, the employer at the office, or, if there be more than one office, any one of the offices of such body.
3. (1) If the registrar of friendly societies, after taking steps to ascertain the views of the employer and workmen, certifies that any scheme of compensation, benefit, or insurance for the workmen of an employer in any employment, whether or not such scheme includes other
employers and their workmen, provides scales of compensation not less favorable to the workmen and their dependents than the corresponding scales contained in this act, and that, where the scheme provides for contributions by the workmen, the scheme confers benefits at least equivalent to those contributions, in addition to the benefits to which the workmen would have been entitled under this act, and that a majority (to be ascertained by ballot) of the workmen to whom the scheme is applicable are in favor of such scheme, the employer may, whilst the certificate is in force, contract with any of his workmen that the provisions of the scheme shall be substituted for the provisions of this act, and thereupon the employer shall be liable only in accordance with the scheme, but, save as aforesaid, this act shall apply notwithstanding any contract to the contrary made after the commencement of this act.
(2) The registrar may give a certificate to expire at the end of a limited period of not less than five years, and may from time to time renew with or without modifications such a certificate to expire at the end of the period for which it is renewed.
(3) No scheme shall be so certified which contains an obligation upon the workmen to join the scheme as a condition of their hiring, or which does not contain provisions enabling a workman to withdraw from the scheme.
(4) If complaint is made to the registrar of friendly societies by or on behalf of the workmen of any employer that the benefits conferred by any scheme no longer conform to the conditions stated in subsection (1) of this section, or that the provisions of such scheme are being violated, or that the scheme is not being fairly administered, or that satisfactory reasons exist for revoking the certificate, the registrar shall examine into the complaint, and, if satisfied that good cause exists for such complaint, shall, unless the cause of complaint is removed, revoke the certificate.
(5) When a certificate is revoked or expires, any moneys or securities held for the purpose of the scheme shall, after due provision has been made to discharge the liabilities already accrued, be distributed as may be arranged between the employer and workmen, or as may be determined by the registrar of friendly societies in the event of a difference of opinion.
(6) Whenever a scheme has been certified as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the employer to answer all such inquiries and to furnish all such accounts in regard to the scheme as may be made or required by the registrar of friendly societies.
(7) The chief registrar of friendly societies shall include in his annual report the particulars of the proceedings of the registrar under this act.
(8) The chief registrar of friendly societies may make regulations for the purpose of carrying this section into effect.
4. (1) Where any person (in this section referred to as the principal,) in the course of or for the purposes of his trade or business,
contracts with any other person (in this section referred to as the contractor) for the execution by or under the contractor of the whole or any part of any work undertaken by the principal, the principal shall be liable to pay to any workman employed in the execution of the work any compensation under this act which he would have been liable to pay if that workman had been immediately employed by him; and where compensation is claimed from or proceedings are taken against the principal, then, in the application of this act, references to the principal shall be substituted for references to the employer, except that the amount of compensation shall be calculated with reference to the earnings of the workman under the employer by whom he is immediately employed:
Provided that, where the contract relates to threshing, plowing, or other agricultural work, and the contractor provides and uses machinery driven by mechanical power for the purpose of such work, he and he alone shall be liable under this act to pay compensation to any workman employed by him on such work.
(2) Where the principal is liable to pay compensation under this section, he shall be entitled to be indemnified by any person who would have been liable to pay compensation to the workman independently of this section, and all questions as to the right to and amount of any such indemnity shall in default of agreement be settled by arbitration under this act.
(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing a workman recovering compensation under this act from the contractor instead of the principal.
(4) This section shall not apply in any case where the accident occurred elsewhere than on, or in, or about premises on which the principal has undertaken to execute the work or which are otherwise under his control or management.
5. (1) Where any employer has entered into a contract with any insurers in respect of any liability under this act to any workman, then, in the event of the employer becoming bankrupt, or making a composition or arrangement with his creditors, or if the employer is a company in the event of the company having commenced to be wound up, the rights of the employer against the insurers as respects that liability shall, notwithstanding anything in the enactments relating to bankruptcy and the winding up of companies, be transferred to and vest in the workman, and upon any such transfer the insurers shall have the same rights and remedies and be subject to the same liabilities as if they were the employer, so however that the insurers shall not be under any greater liability to the workman than they would have been under to the employer.
(2) If the liability of the insurers to the workman is less than the liability of the employer to the workman, the workman may prove for the balance in the bankruptcy or liquidation.
(3) There shall be included among the debts which under section
one of the Preferential Payments in Bankruptcy Act, 1888, and section four of the Preferential Payments in Bankruptcy (Ireland) Act, 1889, are in the distribution of the property of a bankrupt and in the distribution of the assets of a company being wound up to be paid in priority to all other debts, the amount, not exceeding in any individual case one hundred pounds, due in respect of any compensation the liability wherefor accrued before the date of the receiving order or the date of the commencement of the winding up, and those acts and the Preferential Payments in Bankruptcy Amendment Act, 1897, shall have effect accordingly. Where the compensation is a weekly payment, the amount due in respect thereof shall, for the purposes of this provision, be taken to be the amount of the lump sum for which the weekly payment could, if redeemable, be redeemed if the employer made an application for that purpose under the first schedule to this act.
(4) In the case of the winding up of a company within the meaning of the Stannaries Act, 1887, such an amount as aforesaid, if the compensation is payable to a miner or the dependents of a miner, shall have the like priority as is conferred on wages of miners by section nine of that act, and that section shall have effect accordingly.
(5) The provisions of this section with respect to preferences and priorities shall not apply where the bankrupt or the company being wound up has entered into such a contract with insurers as aforesaid.
(6) This section shall not apply where a company is wound up voluntarily merely for the purposes of reconstruction or of amalgamation with another company.
6. Where the injury for which compensation is payable under this act was caused under circumstances creating a legal liability in some person other than the employer to pay damages in respect thereof
(1) The workman may take proceedings both against that person to recover damages and against any person liable to pay compensation under this act for such compensation, but shall not be entitled to recover both damages and compensation; and
(2) If the workman has recovered compensation under this act, the person by whom the compensation was paid, and any person who has been called on to pay an indemnity under the section of this act relating to subcontracting, shall be entitled to be indemnified by the person so liable to pay damages as aforesaid, and all questions as to the right to and amount of any such indemnity shall, in default of agreement, be settled by action, or, by consent of the parties, by arbitration under this act.
7. (1) This act shall apply to masters, seamen, and apprentices to the sea service and apprentices in the sea-fishing service, provided that such persons are workmen within the meaning of this act, and are members of the crew of any ship registered in the United Kingdom, or of any other British ship or vessel of which the owner, or (if there