TT54: Health & Safety Law

July 22, 2004

H&S is a potential minefield!
Issues relating to Health and Safety (H&S) are of increasing concern to employers, and this edition of Topical Tips has been produced to provide a brief reminder of key points of the relevant legislation (The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974; The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999). Compliance with this legislation is enforced by The Health and Safety Executive, a government department.
Employees’ health, safety and welfare at work are protected by law. However, they have a responsibility to look after themselves and others.
An Employer has a duty to protect employees and keep them informed about H&S, and must consult with them (or their safety representative) on relevant matters.
Employer’s legal duties

  • Make workplace safe and without risks to health.
  • Ensure plant and machinery are safe and that safety systems are set and followed.
  • Ensure that articles and substances are moved, stored and used safely.
  • Provide adequate welfare facilities.
  • Give employees information, instruction, training and supervision necessary for their H&S.

Employee’s legal duties

  • Take reasonable care of your own H&S at work and that of others who may be affected by what you do or do not do.
  • Co-operate with employer on H&S.
  • Use work items correctly and in accordance with training or instructions.

Fire precautions

  • Fire precautions are part of the H&S requirements.
  • Specific guidance is contained in the Fire Precautions Workplace Regulations 1997 (as amended) 1999.
  • Advice on general fire precautions can be obtained from the Fire Brigade.

Employer actions required

  • Carry out a H&S Risk Assessment.
  • Make arrangements for implementing the H&S measures identified as being necessary by the assessment.
  • If there are five or more employees, record the significant findings of the risk assessment and the arrangements for H&S measures.
  • If there are five or more employees draw up a H&S policy statement, and bring it to the employees’ attention.
  • Appoint someone competent to assist with H&S responsibilities.
  • Set up emergency procedures.
  • Provide adequate first aid facilities.
  • Ensure the workplace satisfies health, safety and welfare requirements, i.e. for ventilation, temperature, lighting, and sanitary, washing and rest facilities.
  • Ensure that work equipment is suitable for its intended use, so far as H&S is concerned, and that it is properly maintained and used.
  • Prevent/adequately control exposure to substances that could damage health.
  • Take precautions against danger from flammable or explosive hazards, electrical equipment, noise and radiation.
  • Avoid hazardous manual handling operations, and where they cannot be avoided, reduce the risk of injury.
  • Provide free any protective clothing or equipment, where risks are not adequately controlled by other means.
  • Ensure that appropriate safety signs are installed and maintained.
  • Report certain injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences to The Health and Safety Executive.

Barnes Roffe Topical Tips

  • H&S issues are not to be taken lightly.
  • Apart from the obvious risks to employees, failure to comply with legislation could result in fines and/or legal action.
  • If you have not already done so, you should undertake a H&S Assessment as soon as possible.

Topical Tips is designed to be a simple and useful source of ideas and information for clients and contacts of Barnes Roffe LLP. If you are unsure about the implications of any idea contained therein please contact your Barnes Roffe LLP partner. Barnes Roffe LLP cannot take responsibility if the ideas are implemented without its involvement.

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