On the 28th March 2018, a roofing company was sentenced for safety breaches after a worker fell about three metres through a roof light and suffered a fractured pelvis and spinal injuries. The HSE found that the company initially provided airbags to mitigate falls by employees, the airbags had been moved to remove debris and the worker hit the floor instead. The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £1,100 in costs.
Could It Have Been Prevented?
HSE inspector Chris Tilley commented: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply adopting reasonably practicable safe working practices such as using netting instead of relying on fall bags”
So, as an employer or employee, do you know what Health & Safety regulations apply to you?
Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974
This is the main piece of health and safety legislation in the UK that requires employers to ensure “so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.” As well as this, employers are required to ensure the risk of work-related violence is eliminated or controlled.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
These regulations are relevant to employers and state that they have to:
- Carry out health and safety risk assessments, to act on these risks and reduce them
- Assign a responsible person to oversee health and safety at work
- Provide employees with information and training on occupational health and safety
- Provide a health and safety policy
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
These regulations apply to people who ‘'habitually' use a computer as a significant part of their work, which includes people who regularly use DSE Equipment. It covers you if you use DSE for an hour or more continuously or if you are making regular use of DSE. Employers should:
- Conduct DSE workstation risk assessments
- Ensure DSE users take regular breaks
- Provide health and safety information and training surrounding DSE
- Provide eyesight tests
- Provide suitable and adjustable furniture e.g. height-adjustable chairs
- Have adequate procedures to reduce risks associated with DSE
- Ask their employers for eye tests if they feel they need one
- Express to employers if they feel that their DSE Equipment is hindering their ability to main good posture or is giving them discomfort.
- Know how to organise their workspace to avoid awkward stretching movements (through training provided by the employer).
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
These regulations apply to the workplace (premises) themselves and therefore the business owner. Employers must:
- Provide suitable lighting, heating, ventilation & workspaces
- Provide suitable facilities, e.g. toilets, washing facilities and refreshments
- Provide safe passageways (for preventing slipping and tripping)
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
The regulations are to ensure employers are looking after the health and safety of their employees and assess the risks of manual handling. Employees must communicate effectively with employers about their health and safety at work. Employers are required to:
- Reduce the need for employees to undertake manual handling operations with the possibility of injury
- Carry out risk assessment of these operations to reduce injury, you should consider the load, the individual, the task and the environment of the task.
- The weight of each load should be clearly labelled.
- Take care of their own health and safety and others that may be affected by their activities
- Co-operate with employers to help them comply with health and safety duties
- In conjunction with the Management Regulations, employees should use the equipment provided for them in accordance with their training
- Follow appropriate systems of work established by the employer to promote safety when handling loads.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995
These regulations require employers to report to the Incident Contact Centre if there is an accident resulting in death, major injury or absence for 3 or more days. If an incident results in a member of the public being involved then it should be reported.
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