Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, every employer has a duty to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of employees are protected. A breach of this duty of care, by either the employer or the employee could result in a civil case, or a criminal prosecution by the HSE inspector. As the Health and Safety at Work Act is written in general terms only, the more detailed specific requirements are detailed in various other regulations, which are approved by Parliament and have the force of law.
Some of the most frequently used EU regulations are as follows:
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992
The management regulations require every employer to make a suitable and sufficient assessment:
- Firstly of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed while at work.
- Secondly of the risks to the health and safety of persons not in their employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by them.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
These regulations address common factors in workplace accidents such as the maintenance of the workplace, ventilation, the temperature of indoor workplaces, lighting, cleaning and waste materials, room dimensions and space, and the condition of floors and traffic routes.
Floors and traffic routes, should have no holes, slopes or be uneven or slippery, and must have effective means of drainage where necessary. They must also be free from obstructions.
The workplace regulations also cover falls or falling objects, washing facilities, escalators and doors and gates.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
The regulations specify that so far as is reasonably practicable, each employer must avoid the need for his employees to undertake any manual handling operations at work which involve a risk of their being injured. Where it is not reasonably practicable to avoid the need for manual handling, a suitable risk assessment must be carried out of all manual handling operations.
The risk assessment in question must take into account the nature of the task, and the nature of the load being handled, the working environment and also the capabilities of the individual.