European Law





European Law

In actuality, there are directives that focus on the protection of workers in terms of health and safety in the workplace. For instance, the European Union Workplace Health and Safety Directive is a suitable example. The legal decree focuses on the provision of common doctrines concerning the safeguarding of employees’ job-related safety and healthiness. Accordingly, the legislation offers the enabling structure for a range of other personal edicts concerned with particular facets of healthiness and safety. In this respect, the directive will act as a suitable reference concerning the issue of compensation of employees suffering from ailments caused within their respective workplaces. In addition to this, understanding the legal provisions offered by EU Law involves the use of a fictional case and directive, the Health and Safety at Work Directive, which will undergo use in order to determine compensation for David and Keith.


For any organization, it is important to endorse and implement structures supporting workplace safety and health. Accordingly, several legislations have undergone interpretation and construction in order to ensure that they cater adequately to the complaints provided by employees regarding their physical wellbeing. Accordingly, the promotion of safety and health also incorporates employer intervention in the sustenance of a proper working environment. Undeniably, employer intervention involves assisting workers in enhancing their personal health and welfare by their employers. As a result, implementing these policies derives several positive consequences such as decreased employee turnovers, augmented motivation, enhanced efficiency, improved employer and organizational reputation as well as reduced absenteeism (Zanko and Dawson 331).

Irrefutably, safety and health in the organization is a significant part of the legal privileges entitled to employees under European Union Law. EU directives concerning health and safety within the workplace underwent adoption based on the influence of the common market harmonization stipulations (Ellis and Watson 17). The European Act of 1987 was the initial step towards the implementation of policies regarding occupational health and safety. Accordingly, the Act inaugurated a novel condition concerning social policy to the Treaty focusing on improvements within the workplace with respect to the employees’ health and safety. By incorporating this stipulation, the significance of secure working conditions became apparent. In addition, the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam fortified these policies by introducing them as part of the social contract within the EC Treaty (Craig and Búrca 20).

Case Example

In order to assess European legislation on occupational safety and welfare, it is imperative to understand David and Keith’s plea with respect to the fabricated Health and Safety at Work Directive. Accordingly, the Act aimed at safeguarding employees provides a collection of measures aimed at promoting healthiness in the organizational workplace. One category of protection is evident in Article 1 of the legal manuscript. Accordingly, the article provides that an employee be entitled to receive compensation of up to £ 10000 from the employer in case he or she attains injuries or ailments in the respective workplace. In addition, the stated compensation amount caters for the medical bills incurred for the treatment of the illness or injury. Regardless of the requirement necessitating member states to apply the directive, the United Kingdom, in particular, inaugurated most parts of the legislation but failed to implement Article 1 regarding the compensation of employees for treatment expenses.  

Previously, the 1965 Protection of Employees Act, a British legislation, addressed compensation for organizational-related ailments. However, the law comprises a quantity of exclusions from its required capacity. Specifically, the exclusions assert that the Act does not cover injuries gained outside the plant or office environment. Based on the restrictions employed by this act, it is apparent that the implementation of occupational safety and health legislations in the United Kingdom is limited especially in the case of David and Keith. Indeed, David, an employee working as the driver of an ambulance for Salford NHS Trust, started experiencing significant muscle damage in his foot during the start of 2012. Accordingly, the employee identified the pain to his right foot as an outcome of the elongated period he spent working for the healthcare organization as an ambulance driver.

Based on his realization, David opted to seek the assistance of a specialist. The specialist confirmed that the considerable muscle damage to his foot was a derivative of his extensive driving shifts. After receiving this information, the driver decides to deliver his complaints to the management of Salford NHS Trust. However, his grievances are futile since the organization decides to ignore his claims. Afterwards, David decides to engage in therapy courses at a physiotherapy clinic and receives medical bills that accrue to £ 7500. Ultimately, at the same clinic, David becomes acquainted with Keith, who works as a taxi driver for Speed Cabs, which is a local taxi firm. Similarly, Keith has also been experiencing the same ailments due to his lengthy taxi-driving shifts. His medical bills accrue to £ 6000.

Analysis of Law

The main issue in this case illustration involves employee compensation. In this respect, the Article 1 of the Health and Safety at Work Directive requires employers to compensate their injured or sick employees with an amount not below and not exceeding £ 10000 in order to cater for medical bills. Even though the provision has a clear elucidation, it is still difficult to apply such a stipulation in the favor of David and Keith. This is because the respective proviso has not undergone implementation in the United Kingdom. This forms a major reason for the refusal of both Salford NHS Trust and Speed Cabs to avoid compensating their employees regardless of the injuries they sustained in their line of work. In addition, the accused organizations also have a legislative advantage in the case if presented to national courts. This is because of the capability to implement EU laws on a varying basis.

Accordingly, EU directives concerning occupational health and safety in the workplace derive their authorizing foundation from the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Specifically, Article 153 of the Act provides that the EU possesses the jurisdictional authority to espouse directives within the respective field (Barnard 501). In addition, a broad range of EU decrees that specify minimum safety and wellbeing requirements for the safeguarding of employees have since undergone adoption. Based on this, Member States possess the freedom to implement less strict or sterner regulations regarding the security of workers during the transposition of EU legislations into national directives. As a result, the legal requirements based on job-related health and safety can exist in a varying range across the organization’s Member States. In this respect, it is clear that the United Kingdom, as a Member State, adopted a varying degree of the Health and Safety at Work Directive by scraping off Article 1.

Even though EU laws concerning the protection of safety and health at work vary, it is still possible to utilize a platform incumbent within EU decrees. Accordingly, a sequence of individual edicts concentrating on particular features of health and safety in the workplace underwent adoption on the grounds of the Framework Directive. Regardless of this, the Framework Directive consistently applies in all regions encompassed by the directives. Irrespective of the stricter and specific provisions provided by the private directives, there are certain special conditions that prevail. These conditions comprise the minimum standards set for safeguarding wellbeing and safety for employees. They outline the tenets of the Framework Directive to certain tasks such as load handling, work hazards, particular sectors and places of work, certain cohorts of workers such as pregnant women and organizational aspects. Based on this directive, it is permissible for Member States to sustain protection levels or create stricter and sterner levels. Undeniably, it is impossible for them to minimize laws regarding the safeguarding of occupational health and safety in the workplace.


Conclusively, it is possible for David and Keith to sustain a case against their respective employers in national court via Article 1. Even though Member States possess the authority to implement the protection of employees’ safety and health at work on varying degrees, it is still possible to utilize certain elements in order to present a formidable case against employers. One of these elements comprises the use of the Framework Directive. In general, Craig and Búrca (445) assert that even though directives are indirectly applicable, it is constantly present on the affiliate States to apply them completely. In addition, even in areas where directives are upright directly effectual or have access to indirect domestic influence in a different manner, this does not decrease the duty on the State to implement them appropriately.

Based on the stated assertion, the directives that govern the protection of safety and health in the workplace apply irrespective of varying legislations concerning the respective subject matter. In this case, David and Keith can utilize the Framework Directive in order to present a valid argument in national court. This is because the Framework Directive provides a minimum collection of standards that Member States should implement regardless of their varying legislations concerning occupational safety and health in the workplace. In addition, the Framework Directive (Directive 89/391/EEC) requires Member States to adhere to the doctrines provided in EU directives protecting and securing the wellbeing of employees. Concerning this directive, Keith and David can argue using the Working Time Directive 2003/88 based on the elongated number of hours their employers required them to incorporate during their respective shifts (Barnard 502).

In addition, the liberty of a Member State to alter provided stipulations in their favor is also limited due to EU law. Accordingly, Article 249 EC asserts that the manner and type of application of directives comprise a significant matter for every Member State to settle on. Regardless of this, the ECJ still maintains enough authority to evaluate the adequacy of the selected method of application. The ECJ provides that the freedom of an affiliate State to settle on the style of implementation does not release it from the responsibility to provide effect to the stipulations of the decree by way of national provisions of a necessary temperament (Craig and Búrca 445). Simply, even if Member States alter EU legislations in the establishment of the laws as national edicts, they are still unable to evade the obligation required of them based on the conditions provided by the directive.  

Consequently, based on the ECJ’s provision, it is possible to argue against the Health and Safety at Work Directive implemented in the United Kingdom. This is because of the manner of implementation utilized by the state in applying safety and health in the workplace legislations. As mentioned, the United Kingdom implemented the directive by eliminating Article 1, which focuses on the provision of compensation for employees suffering from work-related injuries or ailments. Regardless of this mode of alteration in order to allow application, it is impossible for the Member State to evade the responsibilities required of it from the EU directive. As a result, the United Kingdom is unable to avert the compensation of employees who suffer injuries or illnesses that arise from the type of work they perform in their respective organizations. Based on this, the respective employees are able to secure a valid argument in national court based on this provision.

Lastly, based on Article 153 of the TFEU, it is still possible to present a valid argument against the employers with the Framework Directive 89/391/EEC. The Directive provides a set of requirements that ensure the observation of safety and health in the workplace. The set of smaller directives within this provision also concentrate on the utilization of workplace paraphernalia, private protective equipment and biological, chemical and physical agents. Based on this, the EEC requires Member States to inaugurate provisions within their national laws concerning scientifically recognized occupational illnesses that are predisposed to compensation as well as precautionary interventions (Barnard 507). This is also applicable in this case because of the fact that the muscle damages suffered by the complainants were actually scientifically recognized and therefore liable for compensation.


For David and Keith, providing a valid argument against their employers, Salford NHS Trust and Speed Cabs respectively, is possible in national court. This is in accordance to the set of directives provided by the European Union regarding the protection of employees from injuries and ailments in the workplace. In this respect, both claimants can depend on Article 1 of the Health and Safety at Work Directive due to the minimum standards set by Article 153 of the TFEU with respect to the Framework Directive and implementation of legal standards in the favor of States through the EC’s Article 249. Therefore, David and Keith can rely on the directive’s Article 1 in order to argue against their employers in national court.

Works Cited

Barnard, C. EU Employment Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.

Craig, Paul, and Búrca G. De. EU Law: Text, Cases and Materials. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.

Ellis, Evelyn, and Philippa Watson. EU Anti-Discrimination Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.

Zanko, Michael, and Patrick Dawson. “Occupational Health and Safety Management in Organizations: A Review.” International Journal of Management Reviews 14.3 (2012): 328-344. Print.

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