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Health and safety at work

 

Health and Safety at Work

Contents of this section:

Introduction


Health and Safety Executive


Getting started


Health and safety at work law


Health and safety at work policy for employers


Employee consultation


General duties of employers


General duties of persons concerned with premises


General duties of manufacturers


General duties of employees at work


Detailed regulations for employers

* Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations

* Computers and display screens

* Electricity at work

* Fire precautions

* First aid

* Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences

* Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations

* Construction projects

* Control of substances hazardous to health

* Gas safety

* Heights and ladders

* Lifting operations

* Manual handling

* Pressure systems

* Tools and equipment

* Vibration at work


Specific industries and trades

Children


Enforcement: civil and criminal

Introduction

Health and Safey legislation applies throughout the UK, though under mainly separate but legislation in Northern Ireland. The principal legislation in Great Britain is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (“HSWA”) and in Northern Ireland the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978.

In Great Britain the government agency reponsible for health and safety policy and enforcement is the Health and Safety Executive, and in Northern Ireland the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland.

The subject of health and safety at work (and in the home) has acquired a bad press in recent years (e.g. “elf ‘n safety” stories), usually undeservedly. Officials at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) spend much time trying to counter-act health and safety scare stories and criticisms in the media.

Nevertheless every business must pay attention to this subject. Severe injuries and death are unfortunately caused by accidents at work on a weekly basis.

Quite apart from the human suffering and life-changing aspects caused by work accidents, fines for health and safety offences may amount to thousands of pounds, tens of thousands for severe injuries and six figure amounts in the case of fatalities.

In serious cases, directors or senior managment may be sentenced to imprisonment.

You would be well advised to sign up for news alerts from the HSE, particularly if you are in construction, manufacturing, transport/logistics or any trade or industry involving machinery.

Don’t know if your business is compliant? Check out our Legaleze health and safety compliance report service.

Health and Safety Executive

The HSE is the government agency charged with enforcing the law and advising business and the public on health and safety issues.
Basic guidance is available from the “Health and safety made simple” section of the HSE site.

Comment: The Health and Safety Executive's site is a good resource. However, in our view HSE over-state the “simplicity” of complying with health and safety regulations. Even an office based business providing only services needs to take care to comply with good health and safety practices. See below the paragraphs on Health and Safety at work law.

RoSPA

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is the100 year old UK registered charity whose objects are to promote safety and the prevention of accidents at work, at leisure, on the road and in the home. Their website contains information about many health and safety subjects and courses, particularly for SMEs.

Getting started

A “Getting Started” guide for businesses starting is provided in the HSE website. After reading the whole of this page, the steps to be taken are:

* Health & safety made simple

* How can this site help you?

* Decide who will help with your duties

* Write a health and safety policy

* Controlling the risks in your business

* Consult your employees

* Provide training and information

* Provide the right workplace facilities

* First aid, accidents and ill health

* Display the health & safety law poster

* Get insurance for your business

* Keep up to date

The Association of British Insurers (“ABI”) publishes guidance on a range of general and specific insurance topics, including the distinctive cover provided by Empoyer’s Liablity insurance and Public Liability policies.—this covers businesses for injury, disease or damage to people they do not employ, eg visitors.


Legaleze comment: for general insurance issues, see our section on Insurance.

Health and Safety at work law

The basic law is contained in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (“HSWA”). It is clearly written. There is a myriad of regulations made under the HSWA affecting particular subjects (e.g. reporting of injuries) and industries. However most prosecutions are made under one of the two major sections of the HSWA.

General duties to employees [(Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (“HSWA”) s.2)]


Every employer must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees; and  the matters to which that duty extends include in particular:

(a) the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health;.

(b) arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances;

(c) the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;

(d) so far as is reasonably practicable as regards any place of work under the employer’s control, the maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and maintenance of means of access to and egress from it that are safe and without such risks;

(e) the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.

Health and safety policy

Every employer must prepare and as often as may be appropriate revise a written statement of his general policy with respect to the health and safety at work of his employees and the organisation and arrangements for the time being in force for carrying out that policy, and to bring the statement and any revision of it to the notice of all of his employees. See the HSE guidance

ALARP concept: at the core of health and safety legislation is the duty to ensure health and safety at work 'so far as is reasonably practicable'. In this regard, the HSE has coined the acronym 'ALARP'  which is short for as low as reasonably practicable and it has developed guidance to its staff based on the idea that a risk should be weighed against the trouble, time and money needed to control it. Read the HSE guidance on ALARP

Employee consultation

Every employer must consult employee representatives with a view to the making and maintenance of arrangements which will enable him and his employees to co-operate effectively in promoting and developing measures to ensure the health and safety at work of the employees, and in checking the effectiveness of such measures.

See: Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 (S.I. 1996 No 1513)) and the HSE guidance on employee consultation.

Detailed regulations

In addition to the general statutory duty of an employer to his employees under the HSWA, there are certain Detailed regulations for employers.

General duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees (HSWA s.3)

Every employer must conduct his business in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.

What's new

22/02/2018: Trader fined £180 after failing to follow HSE enforcement notice

Source: Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

A sole trader who repaired cars has been fined £180 and ordered to pay costs of £4,500 after pleaded guilty at Luton Magistrates’ Court of breaching section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The HSE issued Franklin Joseph with an enforcement notice which required him to have an electrician check the system to ensure it was safe to use near flammable liquids, after he was found spraying flammable liquids at a site where electrical equipment used within the area posed a risk of fire and explosion.

Joseph failed to comply with a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforcement notice within the specified time despite being given an extension and receiving advice from the HSE inspector.

19/12/2014: Lothian Health Board in court after death of pensioner

Lothian Health Board has been fined £40,000 following the death of a pensioner after she was struck by one of its vans as she crossed a clearly marked pedestrian route into Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital.

20/03/2012: Feed producer and contractor fined after roof fall
Legaleze comment: the company in this case was charged under s.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. This section imposes a duty on every employer “to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety”.

General duties of persons concerned with premises to persons other than their employees (HSWA s.4)

Every person who has, to any extent, control of work premise or of any plant or substance in such premises must take such measures as it is reasonable for a person in his position to take to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the premises, all means of access thereto or egress therefrom available for use by persons using the premises, and any plant or substance in the premises or, as the case may be, provided for use there, is or are safe and without risks to health.

Landlords and building managers: Landlords and managers of business premises have particular responsibilities in addition to the general health and safety at work requirements. Read more.

General duties of manufacturers as regards articles and substances for use at work (HSWA s.6)

Any person who designs, manufactures, imports or supplies any article for use at work or any article of fairground equipment must:


(a) ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the article is so designed and constructed that it will be safe and without risks to health at all times when it is being set, used, cleaned or maintained by a person at work;


(b) carry out or arrange for the carrying out of such testing and examination as may be necessary for the performance of the duty imposed on him by the preceding paragraph;.


(c) take such steps as are necessary to secure that persons supplied by that person with the article are provided with adequate information about the use for which the article is designed or has been tested and about any conditions necessary to ensure that it will be safe and without risks to health at all such times as are mentioned in paragraph (a) above and when it is being dismantled or disposed of; and


(d) take such steps as are necessary to secure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons so supplied are provided with all such revisions of information provided to them by virtue of the preceding paragraph as are necessary by reason of its becoming known that anything gives rise to a serious risk to health or safety.

General duties of employees at work (HSWA s.7)


Every employee must while at work:


(a) take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work; and


(b) as regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by or under any of the relevant statutory provisions, to co-operate with him so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with.

Detailed regulations applicable to employers

There are around 100 UK Statutory Instruments made under the HSWA containing detailed regulations. The principal regulations applying generally to all businesses are:

* Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations

* Computers and display screens

* Electricity at work

* Fire precautions

* First aid

* Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences

* Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations

Important regulations affecting more specialist activitiies include:

* Construction projects

* Control of substances hazardous to health

* Gas safety

* Heights and ladders

* Lifting operations

* Manual handling

* Noise control

* Pressure systems

* Tools and equipment

* Vibration at work

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999


These regulations require in summary:


* Risk assessment: every employer must make a suitable risk assessment relating to health and safety of his employees at work, persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking.


* Self-employed persons must make a suitable assessment of the risks to his own health and safety to at work and of persons not in his employment.


* Young persons: an employer must not employ a young person unless he has, in relation to risks to their health and safety taking particular account of the inexperience, lack of awareness of risks and immaturity of young persons and other specified matters.


* Five or more employees: employers must record the arrangements made under these regulations.


* Health surveillance: every employer must provide his employees with such health surveillance as is appropriate.


* Health and safety assistance: every employer must appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him; there are exceptions for a self-employed employer who is not in partnership with any other person where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge.


* Serious and imminent danger: every employer must establish and where necessary give effect to appropriate procedures to be followed in the event of serious and imminent danger to persons at work in his undertaking.


* Information: every employer shall provide his employees with comprehensible and relevant information on the risks to their health and safety identified by the assessment.


* Capabilities and training: every employer must, in entrusting tasks to his employees, take into account their capabilities as regards health and safety, and must ensure that his employees are provided with adequate health and safety training.


* Empoyee’s duties: employees must use any machinery, equipment, dangerous substance, transport equipment, means of production or safety device provided to him by his employer in accordance both with any training in the use of the equipment concerned which has been received by him and the instructions respecting that use which have been provided to him.


* New or expectant mothers: if the workforce includes women of child-bearing age and the work is of a kind which could involve to the health and safety of a new or expectant mother or to that of her, risk assessments must include an assessment of such risk.


See also: Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Approved Code of Practice and guidance

Computers and display screens: Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment)

Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/2792). Employers who employ workers who regularly use display screen equipment (DSE) as a significant part of their normal work (daily, for continuous periods of an hour or more) must:

* analyse workstations to assess and reduce risks;

* make sure controls are in place;

* provide information and training;

* provide eye and eyesight tests on request, and special spectacles if needed;

* review the assessment when the user or DSE change

See http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/dse

Electricity: Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (S.I. 1989/635).


See http://www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/

Fire precautions: Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (S.I. 2005 No 1541)


See http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/fire.htm

First aid: Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981


See http://www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/

Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 impose requirements that the responsible person must notify, and subsequently send a report to, the relevant enforcing authority by an approved means in relation to fatal and certain non-fatal work-related accidents, specified diseases contracted by persons at work and certain specified dangerous occurrences.


See http://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/

What's new items relating to RIDDOR general duties of employers [see What's new page orarchive for full item]:

01/10/2013: HSE announces changes to first aid and RIDDOR


The HSE is to introduce revised regulations aimed to assist businesses with complying with first aid requirements and the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). Changes to first aid regulations include the removal of the requirement for HSE approval of first aid.

5/07/2013: The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013


These Regulations revoke and replace, with amendments, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (S.I. 1995/3163) (“the 1995 Regulations”) and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (S.I. 2012/199) (“the 2012 Regulations”). They maintain requirements that the responsible person must notify, and subsequently send a report to, the relevant enforcing authority by an approved means in relation to fatal and certain non-fatal work-related accidents, specified diseases contracted by persons at work and certain specified dangerous occurrences

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992


These regulations apply to all workplaces, i.e. any premises or part of premises which are not domestic premises and are made available to any person as a place of work. Exceptions include ships, construction sites and mines below ground at a mine; other modifications or exceptions apply in the case of temporary work sites, modes of transport, and outdoor workplaces. The main obligations include:

*every employer must ensure that every workplace which is under his control, and where any of his employees work, complies with the workplace regulations;

* every person who has to any extent control of a workplace must ensure that such workplace complies with those requirements of the workplace regulations which relate to matters within that person's control;


Case example: King v RCO Support Services Ltd and another [2000] EWCA Civ 314: Claimant employed by cleaning services company; claimant required to clean customer’s yard; yard iced over; claimant used grit; slipped on ungritted portion and injured; Court of Appeal held employer liable under Manual Handling Operations Regulation 1992 but also customer liable under Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992; employee 50% liable due to contributory negligence;

* where necessary, those parts of the workplace, including in particular doors, passageways, stairs, showers, washbasins, lavatories and workstations, used or occupied directly by disabled persons at work must be organised to take account of such persons;

*the workplace and the specified equipment, devices and systems must be maintained, and kept in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair;

*effective and suitable ventilation must be provided;

* during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings must be reasonable;

* every workplace must have suitable and sufficient lighting, so far as practicable by natural light;

* every workplace and the furniture, furnishings and fittings therein must be kept sufficiently clean;

* every room where persons work must have sufficient floor area, height and unoccupied space for purposes of health, safety and welfare;

* every workstation must be so arranged that it is suitable for any person at work;

* a suitable seat must be provided for each person at work whose work can or must be done sitting;

*every floor and the surface of every traffic route, in a workplace must suitable for purpose and must have no hole, nor slope, nor be uneven or slippery so as to expose any person to a risk to his health and safety;

* so far as is reasonably practicable, every floor and the surface of every traffic route in a workplace must be kept free from obstructions and from any article or substance which may cause a person to slip, trip or fall;

* suitable and sufficient handrails and, if appropriate, guards must be provided on all traffic routes which are staircases except in circumstances in which a handrail cannot be provided without obstructing the traffic route;

* so far as is practicable, every tank, pit, or structure where there is a risk of a person in the workplace falling into a dangerous substance therein must be securely covered or fenced and any traffic route over, across, or in an uncovered tank, pit or structure must be securely fenced;

* every window or other transparent or translucent surface in a wall or partition and every transparent or translucent surface in a door or gate must, where necessary for reasons of health or safety: (i) be of safety material or be protected against breakage; and (ii) be appropriately marked or incorporate features  to make it apparent;

* any window, skylight, or ventilator which is capable of being opened must not be likely to be opened, closed or adjusted in a manner which exposes any person performing such an operation to a risk to his health or safety;

* all windows and skylights in a workplace must be of a design or be so constructed that they may be cleaned safely;

* every workplace must be organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles can circulate in a safe manner;


Case: Lynch v Ceva Logistics Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 188: Claimant qualified electrician; employed by Second Defendant; First Defendant operated warehouse; warehouse laid out in one section with a series of very narrow aisles between tall storage racks; at one end of the VNAs wall or fire break; only possible for the aisle to be accessed from top end; Claimant parked cherry picker at end of an aisle to work on light fitting; to work in next aisle Claimant instead of driving forwards a few yards, Claimant made way on foot along a lateral fire route; Claimant struck in next aisle by reach truck driven by employee of First Defendant; Claimant suffered serious injuries to his upper limbs and claimed damages against the Defendants; Court of Appeal upheld lower court ruling that First Defendant had actual control over occurences in its premises and Second Defendant as Claimant's employer had duty to him; lower court apportioned 60% responsibility to First Defendant and 40% to Second Defendant, after discount of 25% for Claimant’s contributory negligence;

*doors and gates must be suitably constructed, including being fitted with any necessary safety devices;

*escalators and moving walkways must function safely, be equipped with any necessary devices, and be fitted with one or more emergency stop controls which are easily identifiable and readily accessible;

* suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences must be provided in a workplace at readily accessible places; must be adequately ventilated and lit, kept in a clean and orderly condition; and separate rooms containing conveniences must be provided for men and women except if convenience is in separate room capable being secured from inside;

* suitable and sufficient washing facilities, including showers if required by the nature of the work or for health reasons, must be provided at readily accessible places in a workplace;

* adequate supply of wholesome drinking water must be provided for all persons at work in the workplace;

* suitable and sufficient accommodation must be provided for the clothing of any person at work which is not worn during working hours and for special clothing which is worn by any person at work but which is not taken home;

* suitable and sufficient facilities must be provided for any person at work in a workplace to change clothing in all cases where that person has to wear special clothing for the purpose of work and that person cannot, for reasons of health or propriety, be expected to change in another room;

* suitable and sufficient rest facilities must be provided at readily accessible places in each workplace, including suitable facilities to eat meals where food eaten in the workplace would otherwise be likely to become contaminated;

*  suitable facilities must be provided for any person at work who is a pregnant woman or nursing mother to rest; and suitable and sufficient facilities must be provided for the eating of meals.

See also: Workplace health, safety and welfare. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Approved Code of Practice

Construction projects: Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (2007 No 320)


In summary, these Regulations provide that:


* a person acting in the course of a business or non-profit undertaking in connection with a construction project (‘the client’) who engages a designer or contractor in connection with a construction project must take reasonable steps to ensure that the person to be engaged is competent;


* a client has additional duties if a project is ‘notifiable’ i.e. if the construction phase is likely to involve more than 30 days or 500 person days of construction work;


* where a project is notifiable, the client must appoint a competent CDM co-ordinator to perform the certain specified duties as soon as is practicable after initial design work or other preparation for construction work has begun;


* after appointing a CDM co-ordinator, the client must appoint a principal contractor to perform certain specified duties  as soon as is practicable after the client knows enough about the project to be able to select a suitable person for such appointment;


* no person may accept such an engagement unless he is competent;


* a person who arranges for or instructs a worker to carry out or manage design or construction work must ensure the worker is competent or is under the supervision of a competent person;


* every person concerned in a construction project has a duty to seek the co-operation of and co-ordinate activities with any other person concerned in the project;


* every person concerned in relation to the design, planning and preparation of a project must take account of the general principles of prevention in the performance of his duties during all the stages of the project;


* every client must take reasonable steps to ensure that the arrangements made for managing the project are suitable to ensure that  the construction work can be carried out so far as is reasonably practicable without risk to the health and safety of any person, certain workplace amenities and standards are provided;


* every client must ensure that every designer and contractor is promptly provided with certain pre-construction information;


* a designer must not commence work in relation to a project unless any client for the project is aware of his duties under these Regulations;


* every designer must in preparing or modifying a design which may be used in construction work avoid foreseeable risks to the health and safety of any person carrying out construction work or liable to be affected by such construction work, cleaning any window or any transparent or translucent wall, ceiling or roof in or on a structure, maintaining the permanent fixtures and fittings of a structure or using a structure designed as a workplace;


* a contractor must not carry out construction work in relation to a project unless any client for the project is aware of his duties under these Regulations;


* every contractor must plan, manage and monitor construction work carried out by him or under his control in a way which ensures that, so far as is reasonably practicable, it is carried out without risks to health and safety.


See http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm.htm

What’s New items on construction [go to the What's New page or archive for the full item]:

12/01/2015: HSE changes CDM regulations


The HSE carried out a consultation in 2014 in view of the need to amend the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations CDM 2007 (SI 2007/320) to implement the provisions of EU Directive 92/57/EEC on minimum safety and health requirements at temporary construction.

The 2007 CDM Regulations will be replaced by new CDM Regulations (CDM 2015). The HSE has published the draft text of CDM 2015 revised in the light of the consultation, together with draft legal guidance. The technical standards set out in CDM 2015 Part 4 will remain substantially the same as those in CDM 2007, as will the targeting and enforcement policy of the HSE.

Update:The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/51) have replaced the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 with effect from 6 April 2015 and apply to Great Britain. In the amended rules, the principal designer has more control over the preparation and construction phase of the project, while the role of the Construction (Design and Management) (CDM) coordinator has been removed.


21/10/2013: Contractor fined over ‘Dickensian’ conditions for Preston workers


http://press.hse.gov.uk/2013/firm-in-court-over-dickensian-conditions-for-preston-workersA contractor has been fined GBP 5,000 and ordered to pay GBP 1,000 in costs after carrying out restoration work in a listed building for seven weeks without a toilet or running water. The company pleaded guilty to offences under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, SI 2007/320.

Control of substances hazardous to health: Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2677)


See: http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/

What’s New items on COSHH [go to the What's New page or archive for the full item]:


05/12/2013: Guidance: Control of substances hazardous to health
HSE has published the sixth edition of the Health and Safety Executive's Approved Code of Practice and guidance for the control of substances hazardous to health is now available. The document provides practical guidance to legislative requirements regarding the control of substances hazardous to health. The guide also takes into account regulatory changes following the introduction of EU regulations for registration evaluation authorisation and restriction of chemicals.

Gas safety: The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998


See http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/index.htm

Heights and ladders: The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005 No. 735)


See http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/ladders.htm

What’s New items on Heights and Ladders [go to the What's New page or archive for the full item]:

24/01/2017: Warburtons fined GBP 2m after worker is injured in fall

Source: Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

In November 2013, a worker at bread-maker Warburtons was cleaning a mixing machine at Warburtons' Wednesbury bakery when he lost his footing and fell nearly two metres. He suffered a fractured spine and was unable to return to work until December 2014 but was subsequently dismissed in December 2015 after another long period of sick leave. An investigation by the HSE found that the company routinely expected workers to access the top of the mixers to clean them, where they were often unbalanced and in danger of falling. The workers were not adequately supervised and had no training on how the mixers needed to be cleaned at height.

19/05/2014: Video footage lands skip firm owner in court

The owner of Shadlock Skips in Bacup has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,039 after he was filmed endangering an employee's life by lifting him in a digger bucket. A concerned member of the public videoed the incident, which was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)..


29/01/2014: HSE issues new guidance on working at height


The HSE has revised its guidance on working at height as part of the government’s Red Tape Challenge, which seeks to abolish or improve outdated, burdensome or overcomplicated Regulations which waste businesses’ time and money.

Lifting operations: Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), SI 1998/2307

See:  Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998

What’s New items on lifting operations [go to the What's New page or archive for the full item]:

01/02/2017: Overhead crane worker suffers life threatening injuries


A Cleckheaton engineering firm has been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs after a worker suffered life changing injuries. H E Realisations Ltd (now in liquidation, formerly Hogg Engineering Ltd)  pleaded guilty to breaching s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and reg.8(1) of the Lifting Operation and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

Manual handling: Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
See http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/manualhandling.htm


Case example: Ali Ghaith v Indesit Company UK Limited [2012] EWCA Civ 642 (breach of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992).
See also under Tools and equipment.

Noise: Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005

The aim of the Noise Regulations is to ensure that workers' hearing is protected from excessive noise at their place of work, which could cause them to lose their hearing and/or to suffer from tinnitus (permanent ringing in the ears).

The level at which employers must provide hearing protection and hearing protection zones is now 85 decibels (daily or weekly average exposure) and the level at which employers must assess the risk to workers' health and provide them with information and training is now 80 decibels. There is also an exposure limit value of 87 decibels, taking account of any reduction in exposure provided by hearing protection, above which workers must not be exposed.

See further: HSE on Noise at work

What's new items on this topic [see What's new page or archive for full item]:

10/04/2018 Professional viola player succeeds in acoustic shock claim

Goldscheider v Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation
[2018] EWHC 687 (QB)

The claimant was a professional viola player employed in the orchestra at the defendant's Royal Opera House (ROH). He claimed damages in the High Court for personal injury, loss and damage sustained during the course of his employment on 1 September 2012.

Pressure systems: Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 (PER) and the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000


See: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pressure-systems/index.htm

Tools and equipment: Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992;

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 SI 1998/2306

What's new items on tools and equipment [see What's new page or archive for full item]:

10/02/2016: Care provider liable for employee’s injury

Kennedy v Cordia (Services) LLP (Scotland) [2016] UKSC 6

This case was an appeal from the Scottish Court of Session and raised a number of issues of practical importance relating to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (the PPE Regulations) (SI 1992/2966) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (the Management Regulations) (SI 1999/3242), to employers’ liability at common law, and to expert evidence in this field.

17/12/2014: Fairground firm fined for injury caused by corrosion on ride


A fairground operator Fairground ride owner after a member of public was hit on the head by a falling handrail on a ride. The woman required stitches to a head wound and suffered back and shoulder pain as a result of the incident.

05/08/2013: Nursery nurse recovers damages under health and safety regulations
Cooper v Bright Horizons Family Solutions Ltd [2013] EWHC 2349 (QB)
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2013/2349.html


A nursery nurse injured her back when she lifted a child in the course of working at a nursery. She claimed damages for personal injury against the nursery.
The High Court held that the nursery had committed a breach of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the nurse was entitled to recover damages to be assessed.
Legaleze comment: It is usually more difficult for an employer to defend a civil claim brought under health and safety regulations because the claimant does not normally have to prove the employer was negligent. The Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Act 2013 s.69 has removed civil liability for breach of health and safety regulations, except if the particular regulation provides otherwise. However, this section has not yet been brought into force.

21/05/2013: Court of Appeal allows crane drivers’ work injury appeal


Willock and others v Corus UK Limited [2013] All ER (D) 231 (May)
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2013/519.html (Hearing Date: 17 May 2013)
The claimants in this case were crane drivers employed by Corus UK at their steel plant in South Wales. The drivers made personal injury claims in the High Court claiming damages against Corus UK.

Vibration at work: Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005
See: http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/index.htm


:Regulation 5(1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 states: "An employer who carries out work which is liable to expose any of his employees to risk from vibration shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk created by that work to the health and safety of those employees and the risk assessment shall identify the measures that need to be taken to meet the requirements of these Regulations."
Regulation 6(1) of the same Regulations states: "The employer shall ensure that risk from the exposure of his employees to vibration is either eliminated at source or, where this is not reasonably practicable, reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable."

What's new items on tools and equipment [see What's new page or archive for full item]:

11/01/2017: BA fined over vibration injuries; Crisp maker over worker’s hand injury


An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that British Airways PLC (BA) failed to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to control the effect of exposure by workers to the vibrations from hand held tools. Employees working in the composite workshop at the Glasgow base who in the course of their work used hand held power tools to carry out repairs on various components were exposed to the risk of Hand Arm Vibration (HAVs) .

British Airways PLC pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 (1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005) and was fined GBP 6,500.

An agency worker had been clearing a blockage of material from a machine on a crisp manufacturing production line when his hand came into contact with shears. He lost three fingers on his right hand which were severed below the first knuckle. The HSE’s investigation found that the guard on the machine was not secured at the time of the incident and the manufacturer had not implemented a formal monitoring system on the machine to ensure that all guards were in place and secure before the machine was started

Tayto Group Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, SI 1998/2306, reg 5. It was fined GBP 33,000 plus costs.

23/07/2014: Kent firm in court after decade of ignoring risks to workers


Following an investigation by the HSE when it was alerted to the high incidence of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), a Ramsgate company has been fined for failing to manage the exposure of their employees to serious risk of vibration from prolonged machine use, after one employee was left with a severe long-term disability.

15/01/2013: Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council


The HSE prosecuted Wirral Borough Council after workers in the Parks and Leisure Department were affected by Hand Arm Vibration syndrome. One of the workers, Nick Bower, began noticing problems with his hands after several years working as Head Green Keeper at Hoylake Golf Course, where he regularly worked with strimmers and mowers.

Industries and trades

The HSE website has a section on “How to trace legislation” and a list of regulations applying to particular activities can be viewed. In addition, HSE guidance is available for health and safety issues on particular trades and activities including:

 

Agriculture
Air transport
Armed forces
Biocides
Catering and hospitality
Cement
Ceramics
Chemicals
Cleaning
Concrete
Construction
Diving
Docks (Ports)
Education
Engineering
Entertainment and leisure
Explosives
Fire and rescue services
Food and drink manufacture

Footwear
Gas: Domestic/Gas/LPG/Supply
Glass and glazing
Hairdressing
Health and Social Care Services
Heavy clay and bricks
Laundries and dry-cleaners
Leather
Local government
Logistics
Manufacturing
Mining*
Molten metals
Motor vehicle repair
Nuclear
Offshore oil and gas
Paper
Pesticides
Plastics
Police
Ports
Printing
Public services
Quarries
Railways
Recycling
Refractories
Retail
Rubber
Stonemasonry
Surface engineering
Textiles
Tree work
Waste management
Woodworking and furniture

 

*17/12/2014: Mines Regulations 2014

The Mines Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3248) come into effect on 6 April 2015. The Regulation replace the existing legislation imposing duties on mine operators to manage and control major hazards at mines by a single set of Regulations as to operators’ duties to ensure health and safety and protection for mineworkers and others.

Children

The HSE has published a statement on children’s play and leisure

Mailsport has guidance specifically on water safety and children

Enforcement

Civil enforcement


Breach of a duty under the HSWA and any regulation made under it was formerly actionable by any person who suffered damage as a result of the breach,with certain exceptions.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 included reform of Health and safety at work legislation. From 1 October 2013, civil claims for breach of health and safety duties can only be brought where it can be proved an employer has been negligent. It also establishes the principle that an employer should always have the opportunity, even where a strict duty applies, to defend themselves on the basis of having taken all reasonable steps to protect their employees.

There are some exceptions.  The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (Civil Liability) (Exceptions) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013 No. 1667) created some exceptions to section 47(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 including:

* Civil liability for breach of statutory duty for pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding (“new and expectant mothers”) in relation to certain rights derived from Directive 92/85/EEC (OJ L348, 28.11.1992 p 1) (“the Pregnant Workers Directive”) and Directive 2008/104/EC (OJ L327, 5.12.2008, p 9) (“the Agency Workers Directive”).

* Section 72(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (“the 1996 Act”) compels employers to prohibit a worker from working within a prescribed period known as the compulsory maternity leave period (which is 2 weeks from the date of giving birth). Section 72(4) applies the provisions of the 1974 Act to this prohibition as if it were contained in health and safety regulations made under section 15 of the 1974 Act. The effect of this, among other things, is to apply the provisions of section 47 relating to civil liability, including the power to create an exception, to a contravention of the prohibition in section 72(1) of the 1996 Act.

* Regulation 3 substitutes regulation 22 of the 1999 Regulations to provide that new and expectant mothers (including agency workers) will continue to have a right of action in civil proceedings in relation to breaches of sections 16–17A of the 1999 Regulations to the extent that the breach causes damage. These provisions of the 1999 Regulations relate to requirements to carry out risk assessments and make particular arrangements for new and expectant mothers to protect their health and safety.

Criminal enforcement


The HSWA creates 15 different criminal offences, the principal ones being failure to discharge any of the general duties imposed by the Act or by regulations made under the Act. The principal offences are punishable on conviction on indictment by an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment up to two years.


There is provision for Director's criminal liability. In serious cases a Director may be disqualified for his conduct.

23/12/2014: Building firm directors given suspended jail sentence after worker is killed

Two directors of building firm have each been given a suspended 12-month custodial sentence, and ordered to pay costs of £25,000 each, after a 20-year-old worker died on his first day at work when the four-tonne dumper he was driving fell down a bank and crushed him.

Corporate Manslaughter


Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, an organisation is guilty of corporate manslaughter if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a death and amounts to a gross breach of a duty of care to the person who died. A substantial part of the breach must have been in the way activities were organised by senior management.

What's new items relating to criminal enforcement including corporate manslaugher [see What's New page or archive for full item]:

04/02/2015: Building firm and its owner sentenced for corporate manslaughter
http://press.hse.gov.uk

Following the death in 2011 of a man as a result of falling through a roof, a building firm has been fined at Preston Crown Court £220,000 for corporate manslaughter and health and safety offence. The owner of the firm was sentenced for the same offences to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, and 200 hours unpaid work.

06/12/2014: Commercial director found guilty of manslaughter following the death of a worker

A construction firm’s commercial director its independent health and safety consultant have been sentenced to thirty-nine months’ and nine months’ imprisonment respectively, following the death of an excavation worker.

25/11/2013: London sports club sentenced for corporate manslaughter over banana boat ride
Princes Sporting Club Limited pleaded guilty to corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 following the death of an 11-year-old girl resulting from a water sports activity organised on 11 September 2010 on Back Lake, Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont, Middlesex. The company was ordered to pay a fine of £134,579.69.

15/02/2011: Company found guilty under corporate manslaughter law
Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings has become the first company to be convicted of the new offence of corporate manslaughter. Alex Wright was 27 years old when he died on 5 September 2008. He was a geologist for Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings and was investigating soil conditions in a deep trench on a development plot in Stroud when it collapsed and killed him.

[Page partially updated: 12/04/2018]

 

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