Managing health & safety at work (M3.23)
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 covers a wide range of basic health, safety and welfare issues and apply to most workplaces. Requirements under these Regulations
Employers have a general duty under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. People in control of non-domestic premises have a duty (under section 4 of the Act) towards people who are not their employees but use their premises. The Regulations expand on these duties and are intended to protect the health and safety of everyone in the workplace, and ensure that adequate welfare facilities are provided for people at work. These Regulations aim to ensure that workplaces meet the health, safety and welfare needs of all members of a workforce, including people with disabilities. Several of the Regulations require things to be ‘suitable’. Regulation 2(3) makes it clear that things should be suitable for anyone. This includes people with disabilities. Where necessary, parts of the workplace, including in particular doors, passageways, stairs, showers, washbasins, lavatories and workstations, should be made accessible for disabled people.
Under Section 8 of the Act the employer has a duty to ensure the employees’ safety, health and welfare at work as far as is reasonably practicable. In order to prevent workplace injuries and ill health the employer is required, among other things, to: * Provide and maintain a safe workplace which uses safe plant and equipment * Prevent risks from use of any article or substance and from exposure to physical agents, noise and vibration * Prevent any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk * Provide instruction and training to employees on health and safety * Provide protective clothing and equipment to employees * Appointing a competent person as the organisation’s Safety Officer Employees’ duties
The duties of employees while at work are set out in Section 13 of the Act. These include the following: * To take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of themselves and of other people in the workplace * Not to engage in improper behaviour that will endanger themselves or others * Not to be under the influence of drink or drugs in the workplace * To undergo any reasonable medical or other assessment if requested to do so by the employer * To report any defects in the place of work or equipment which might be a danger to health and safety Risk assessment and safety statement
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 every employer is required to carry out a risk assessment for the workplace which should identify any hazards present in the workplace, assess the risks arising from such hazards and identify the steps to be taken to deal with any risks. The employer must also prepare a safety statement which is based on the risk assessment. The statement should also contain the details of people in the workforce who are responsible for safety issues. Employees should be given access to this statement and employers should review it on a regular basis. The Health and Safety Authority has published guidelines on risk assessments and safety statements (pdf). Protective equipment and measures
The employer should tell employees about any risks that require the wearing of protective equipment. The employer should provide protective equipment (such as protective clothing, headgear, footwear, eyewear, gloves) together with training on how to use it, where necessary. An employee is under a duty to take reasonable care for his/her own safety and to use any protective equipment supplied. The protective equipment should be provided free of charge to employees if it is intended for use at the workplace only. Usually, employees should be...
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