The use of section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is summarised as:
“An Act to make further provision for securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work, for protecting others against risks to health or safety in connection with the activities of persons at work” (Health & Safety at Work Act 1974) This is only a small portion of the summary and it continues to talk about dangerous substances, control of emissions and building regulations. But from the quoted section we can begin to deduce the reason for the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (hereafter referred to as HSWA), it is there to ensure that businesses are aware of the dangers they can cause for their employees and the public around them during their day to day proceedings, and of the liabilities they face if they do not comply with the law. Acts of Parliament were passed prior to 1974 to deal with certain hazards in and out of the workplace, we can see that there were repercussions when people were ignorant to the safety of others through negligence for example, which was first defined in the case Blyth v Birmingham Waterworks  where Mr Blyth’s house was flooded due to Birmingham Waterworks installing a fireplug which failed during the winter months, in this case the judge ruled that the defendant could not have expected the abnormal cold of that year and were therefore not showing signs of negligence when they installed said plug. And so while there were some basic provisions in place, the majority of the HSWA was an evolution of a report by Baron Alfred Robens known as the Robens Report, in it he realised that there was a problem with the large amount of accidents, and in many cases deaths, occurring to people whom were at work and that it was a “serious and concerning” issue to be dealt with. It was the basis of the idea of employers self-regulating the health and safety of their employees, to best see this we can simply look at Sections 2 & 3 of the HSWA. Section 2 states that “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees” (HSWA, Section 2) from it we can see the influence of Robens Report upon one of the beginning sections of the Act, it is something that, in the modern world we take for granted, we assume that this would be something a person would do anyway for people under their supervision. It’s really quite surprising to realise that only near 40 years ago this sort of care from employers was almost unheard of. Section 3 develops further upon this and invokes that employers should not only be responsible for their employees but for the safety of the general public who may be affected by the everyday duties of the business, which again seems almost nonsensical to believe this wasn’t already regulated, in modern times people who find any option to file a claim against a business will usually attempt to do so almost immediately, it seems as though that as a business, this is not the kind of attention you would like brought to yourself, and the consequences are definitely something you would actively seek to avoid. The Robens Report also led to the implementation of the Health and Safety Commission and the Health and Safety Executive which were the two governing bodies of Health and Safety in the work place, as of April 2008 they have merged into one group under the latter name. Since the HSWA was created in 1974 it has faced various numbers of revision and reconciliations, these are usually done yearly to allow any advancements to be implemented immediately to allow it to become more adaptable and more consistent, effectively to reduce the number of flaws and essentially eliminate any ‘loopholes’ that may be exploitable. One of the sections that are currently under scrutiny is Section 37 of the HSWA which can be stated as: “Where...