Legislation Overview

Video 3 of 13
2 min 46 sec
English
English

Back in 1974, we had the Health and Safety Work Act, came out in order to ensure that everybody would be safe in the workplace, and that is no different when we look at the subject of working at height. However, that piece of legislation is more of an overview of what is the expectations both from an employer and employee point of view. But there are a number of regulations that will always link in with even working at height. For example, the construction design and management regulations, very important, because in the construction industry, as you can imagine, many people do work at height.

Then we have got the Work at Height Regulation itself. It came out in 2005. But that is a quick overview. Let us now look at a bit more detail purely at the Health and Safety Work Act and what it is designed to do, and then we will link it in with the Work at Height later.

So ultimately, it is there to protect us at work; however, if in the process something was to go wrong, it does state that we can be inspected to ensure we are compliant. Now, from an employer point of view, their duty is to ensure that the workplace is safe. They also got to make sure that the job that we do are also safe. They have a duty to provide information, instruction, and training, and assess risks and control them. But that is the employer.

What about us as employees? We too have duties. One is never to put ourselves or others at risk. If we see something that is dangerous, hazardous, unsafe, we must report it and must always cooperate with our employer on anything to do with health and safety. If we do not, the consequences can be quite severe.

Now, in the first instance, if there is an accident, someone is injured or even worse, dies, there is someone on the Board of Directors who will have to answer in a court of law, and their defence is known as due diligence. That is when things like training records, safeness of work, risk assessments, all those things will be required to be produced in court to show they have done their best to protect their employees in the workplace.

But that does not dissolve us of our responsibility because we too can potentially be prosecuted for our acts and omissions. We may have caused the accident, we may not have followed through on some of those risk assessments or method statements that we have been given. So, it is important that we always follow through on that legislation. In the first instance, it is there to protect us, but equally, if we break it, it will prosecute us.