Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

Section 2 (1)-Employers Duty

“To ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees”

Section 2(2)

(a) Provide and maintain plant & systems of work that are, sfairp, safe and without risks to health.

(b) Have arrangements for ensuring, sfairp, safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles & substances.

(c) Provide such information, instruction, training & supervision as is necessary to ensure, sfairp, the health & safety at work of his employees.

(d) Sfairp as regards any place of work under the employers control, maintain it in a condition that is safe and without risks to health, and provide and maintain means of access and egress that are safe and without such risks.

(e) Provide and maintain a working environment for his employees that is, sfairp, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.

Section 2(3)

  • Prepare written general h&s policy if 5 or more employees
  • Organisation and arrangements for carrying out the policy
  • Revise when appropriate
  • Bring statement and any revision to notice of all employees

Section 2(4), (5), (6) & (7)

  • Appointment of Safety Reps from Trade Unions
  • Election of Safety Reps
  • Consulting Safety Reps
  • Establish a safety committee if requested by Safety Reps

Section 3 (1)-Duties to Others

It shall be the duty of 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 by his work, are not exposed to risks to their health or safety.

Section 3(2)

Self employed to look after himself and others who may be affected by his work (sfairp)

Section 3(3)

Provide information on risks from employers undertaking to others who may be affected

Section 4 – Persons in Control of premises

  • Ensure safety of people who work in the premises
  • Criminal counterpart of Occupiers Liability Act

Section 5-Control of harmful emissions into the atmosphere

  • Persons in control of premises to use best practicable means to prevent noxious or offensive substances being emitted into the air
  • Also a duty to render harmless and inoffensive such substances as may be emitted
  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990 places greater emphasis on this

Section 6-Designers, Manufacturers, Importers & Suppliers

  • Ensure that articles, sfairp, are so designed and constructed as to be safe and without risks when being set, cleaned, used or maintained by a person at work
  • Articles must be tested and information provided
  • Amended by Consumer Protection Act 1987

Section 7-Duties of Employees

  • Take reasonable care for health & safety of himself and other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions
  • Co-operate with employer to enable him to meet his statutory obligations

Section 8-Interference & Misuse

  • No person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety or welfare.
  • One of the few duties under h&s law where the “guilty mind” has to be proven (mens rea)

Section 9 – No Cost to Employees

No employer shall levy, or permit to be levied on any employee of his, any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions.

Section 15

  • Power to make regulations under the Act
  • Proposals are submitted by HSC after consultation (CD’s)
  • Power to repeal or modify existing statutory provisions

Section 16

  • Gives HSC power to approve and issue ACOP’s which provide guidance on how to comply with the Act and related legislation
  • HSC requires consent of Secretary of State, but must consult first (CD)
  • Examples:
  • SR&SC Regs 1977
  • Management of H&S at Work Regs 1999
  • COSHH 1999

Section 18-Enforcement

  • LA’s: retail sale, offices, catering, entertainment, residential accommodation etc.
  • HSE: All circumstances where no other authority has been given responsibility

Section 19-Inspector Appointment

Every inspector issued a warrant of appointment which specifies what powers they have been given

Section 20-Powers of Inspectors

  • Enter premises – take policeman or others
  • Investigate – measurements, photographs, samples, tests
  • Inspect/take copies of documents
  • Confiscate or dismantle any article
  • Interview anyone/take written statements

Section 21-Improvement Notices

  • When h&s legislation is contravened
  • Inspectors must specify the statutory provision breached and reasons why
  • Inspectors may state what action is necessary to remedy matters (e.g. by referring to guidance or ACOP’s)

Section 22-Prohibition Notices

  • When there is a risk of serious personal injury
  • Prohibits the carrying on of the work activity
  • Can be immediate or deferred
  • Doesn’t have to be breach of law
  • If law is being broken, it must say so
  • Must state the matters which give rise to the risk, and may include required remedial actions

Section 33 – Offences, Penalties and Prosecutions

  • Summary, Indictment
  • Fines
  • Imprisonment

Who can be Prosecuted?

Section 37 – If an offence committed by a corporate body was committed with the consent or connivance of or because of the negligence of a director, manager, secretary or other officer, then they are also guilty of the offence and may be prosecuted as well as the corporate body

Section 37 – If an offence committed by a corporate body was committed with the consent or connivance of or because of the negligence of a director, manager, secretary or other officer, then they are also guilty of the offence and may be prosecuted as well as the corporate body

Section 40-Exclusion of Civil Liability

  • No right of civil action arising from failure to comply with Sections 2-8
  • Breaches of any duties imposed by b&s Regs are actionable unless the Regs themselves state otherwise (e.g. Management Regs (for now))