Health and Safety Law
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 makes provision under its statutory requirements and codes of practice (insofar as is reasonably practicable) for employers to provide and maintain:
- Equipment (including personal protective equipment/clothing) and systems and works practices that are safe;
- Arrangements to ensure the safety and absence of dangers to health in connection with the use, handling and transport of articles and substances;
- Sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision to enable all your employees to avoid threats to health and safety and contribute positively, both as to their own health and safety at work and the safety of others who might be affected by working activities.
- A place of work (including means of access and exit) that is safe and without risk to health; and
- Adequate welfare facilities.
In order to ensure that health and safety standards are complied with, you should carry out the following measures.
- Carry out regular risk assessments in order to identify measures that need to be implemented to comply with all health and safety obligations;
- Provide a safe place of work by ensuring that all equipment, machinery, safety devices and means of entrance and exit to the workplace are safe;
- Provide any necessary safety equipment and clothing and appropriate instruction and training to ensure standards are complied with;
- Set up clear emergency procedures;
- Consult regularly with your employees to ensure that they are fully aware of safety matters and are in a position to communicate any concerns that they have so that there is full co-operation between you and them; and
- If necessary, set up appropriate committees for you to consult with.
It is also every employee’s responsibility to take reasonable care to ensure the health, safety and welfare, not only for themselves, but also their colleagues and any visitors to your offices. Your employees must therefore ensure that they are fully conversant with all necessary standards and any failure to comply with health and safety standards may amount to a disciplinary offence.
As part of this duty, your employees should:
- Co-operate with any measures introduced to promote health and safety and should bring to the attention of the appropriate supervisor or line manager anything which they feel is, or may become, a safety hazard:
- Use all safety equipment and clothing that has been provided;
- Ensure that any equipment or machinery is used in accordance with safety instructions and immediately report any malfunction or other difficulty with machinery or equipment that could be a risk or health hazard;
- Report any accidents that occur and assist with any investigation.
Your employee may decide to raise a grievance if they consider there has been a breach of health and safety regulations, or in extreme circumstances they may wish to resign if they feel that their position is no longer tenable because health and safety legislation is not being followed, in which case they may have a claim for constructive dismissal and/or whistleblowing.
If you would like more detailed information about health and safety legislation, Ashby Cohen can help you. Please contact us for an initial free telephone consultation.
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