Health and safety is one of the most important aspects within any organisation. The purpose of Health and Safety regulations are to ensure that the workplace is a safe environment for all employees when going about their daily duties.
Parliament has issued legislation regarding what are acceptable safety procedures which should be implemented in the workplace and it is the manager’s responsibility to make sure this legislation is followed. Health and safety law is a combination of criminal law and common law. The definition of criminal law is statutory which means that these laws have been legislated by Parliament. Common law is defined through precedents which mean that these rules are commonly accepted.
The Health and Safety in Work Act (HASWA) was introduced in 1974 through Parliament. This act covers a wide range of regulations which relate to health, safety and welfare of different types of workplaces. The Act states that employers have duties of care with regard to the health and safety of their employees, duties which are now incorporated into statute law as part of section 2 of this Act. The first part of the Act contains a general statement of the duties of employers to their employees while at work and is explained in more detail in subsection 2 which states employers must adhere to the following:- (1) Provide and maintain plant and systems of work that are safe and without risks to health. Plant covers any machinery, equipment or appliances including portable power tools and hand tools. (2) Ensure that the use, handling storage and transport or articles and substances is safe and without risk. (3) Provide such information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure that employees can carry out their jobs safely. (4) Ensure that any workshop is safe and healthy and that proper means of access and egress are maintained, particularly in respect of high standards of housekeeping, cleanliness, disposal of rubbish and the stacking of goods in the proper place. (5) Keep the workplace environment safe and healthy so that the atmosphere is such as not to give rise to poisoning, gassing or the encouragement of the development of diseases. Adequate welfare facilities should be provided.
One of the areas of legislation which relates to our organisation is the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR). One of the fundamental principles of this regulation concerns the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventative and protective measures for employees. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a duty on employers to assess and manage risks to their employees and others arising from work activities. Employers must also make arrangements to ensure the health and safety of the workplace, including making arrangements for emergencies, adequate information and training for employees, and for health surveillance where appropriate. Employees must work safely in accordance with their training and instructions given to them. Employees must also notify the employer or the person responsible for health and safety of any serious or immediate danger to health and safety or any shortcoming in health and safety arrangements.
Another regulation which is relevant to our workplace is the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) which came into force in April 1996. This legislation requires the reporting of work-related accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences and it applies to all work activities but not to all incidents. RIDDOR states that the following should be reported:-
Major injuries such as fractures other than to fingers, thumbs or toes; amputation; dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine; loss of sight (temporary or permanent); chemical or hot metal burn to the eye or any penetrating injury to the eye;...