Health and Safety Law- Poster and Compliance Tips
Posted on 4th November 2021 at 10:41
Ensuring the health and safety of employees has always been important for business owners, with this in mind we have put together information to help to manage your health and safety.
The Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations 1989, requires employers to either display the HSE-approved law poster or to provide each of their workers with the equivalent leaflet.
If an employer chooses to use the Health and Safety Law poster to communicate with their employees, they should consider two things; the location of the poster or leaflet and the quantity that they display.
HSE- approved law posters must be displayed in a prominent location in all business sites; in an area that can be easily accessed by employees; this could be in places like break rooms, kitchens, reception areas and communal spaces, ensuring they are clearly visible.
Some companies may also have different distinct areas of work, that require their own posters, for example, a company may have an office space and a warehouse in one building, in this case they may display the Health and Safety law poster in both areas to ensure that all the staff have access to the information. If a company has more than one building on a site, then there should be a Health and Safety law poster in both buildings.
The HSE- approved law poster is designed to provide Health and Safety information in an informative and accessible style to encourage all employees to read and understand the content.
Other than providing the poster what other duties of Health and Safety does an employer have to its employee’s?
At common law, an employer is under a duty to take reasonable care for the health, safety, and wellbeing of its employees, with this duty covering both physical and mental injuries. The employer must take positive and proactive steps in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its employees in the light of the knowledge that it either has or ought to have.
As the duty is owed to individual employees, circumstances that make any employee more vulnerable to injury must be taken into consideration in caring for that employee. Under section 2.1 of the HASAWA 1974, an employer must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of employees at work. This duty extends to matters including the maintenance of plant, systems of work, the arrangements for the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances, information and training, and access routes.
What does “so far as reasonably practicable” mean?
These words offer a duty holder a statutory defence in the event of alleged breach. The defence of reasonable practicability is satisfied if the employer can show that the cost of any further preventive steps to make the situation safer would be grossly disproportionate to the further benefit from their introduction. It will be a question of fact in each case as to whether the employer has complied with that qualified standard.
Do employees themselves have any duties regarding Health and Safety?
Yes, employees have a criminal law duty to take reasonable care to avoid injury either to themselves or to anyone else through their work activities, and to cooperate with their employer and others in meeting statutory requirements. In addition, they must not interfere with or misuse anything provided for the purpose of protecting their health, safety, and wellbeing. Employees are also required under common law to take precautionary steps to look after themselves. A few examples of this could be ensuring proper training in your respective field by attending health and safety training courses or seminars and following the company’s health and safety policies. Another would be the use of effective communication in reporting any injuries, strains or illnesses you suffer as a result of your job role.
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