This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act, a milestone piece of legislation that is still as relevant today as the day it was written. It has been tested in the courts many times and stood up to the scrutiny of many legal challenges which means we all have a clear and concise understanding of exactly what this important legislation demands from us all – OR DO WE?
If you are responsible for health and safety in your organisation do you know what the fundamental requirements of this legislation demand? You should do because if you don’t how are you proactively managing health and safety – is it by pure luck or is it by good management?
In its original form the legislation had 85 individual regulations and 10 schedules and over time a number of these have been repealed or amended by successive legislation so let’s take an abridged look at just a few (don’t worry we are not going to look at all 85) of the requirements laid down in this legislation:
Regulation 2 (General duties of Employers to their Employees)
2 (1) Employers must ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees whilst at work
This will include:
2 (2)(a) The provision and maintenance of plant (enhanced by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regs PUWER) and systems of work that are safe and without risk to health
2 (2)(b) Arrangements for ensuring safety and the absence of risk in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances
2 (2) (c) The provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure the health and safety at work of their employees at work
2 (2) (d) The maintenance of the workplace in a condition that is safe and without risk to health and the provision and maintenance of means of access to and egress from it that are safe and without risks
2 (2) (e) The provision of facilities and arrangements for welfare for employees (enhanced by the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regs)
2 (3) Employers must prepare and revise, as appropriate, a written statement of their general policy detailing the organisation and arrangements for implementing that policy.
Regulation 3 General duties of employers & self employed to persons other than their employees
3 (1) All Employers must ensure that persons not in their employment are not exposed to risk associated with the undertaking of the company.
Regulation 7 General duties of employees at work
7 (a) All employees whilst at work must take care for the health and safety of himself and others who may be affected by his acts or omissions
7 (b) All employees must cooperate with the employer so far as is necessary to enable the compliance with any statutory provision
Regulation 8 Duty not to interfere with or misuse things provided pursuant to certain provisions
8 No person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interest of health, safety or welfare in pursuance of any of the relevant statutory provisions.
Most of the above is liberally sprinkled with the phrase “so far as is reasonably practicable” and as the ultimate judge of that is the judicial system we need to get it right before the inspector comes knocking.
OK that’s enough law for now but you can hopefully see that just these 4 regulations lay down the fundamental framework for providing and maintaining a safe working environment free from risk to health.
If you were not aware of the above you might need to consider health and safety training needs within your organisation. Speak to your health and safety consultant to find out what training Alcumus can offer you.