Health and Safety Law

Health and Safety Law Publications

Employers must assess and manage the risks that their staff face, and create, when they use the road for work.

HSE Guidelines, 'Driving at Work' (INDG 382) (PDF), state that "health and safety law applies to on-the-road work activities and the risks should be effectively managed within a health and safety system." This includes ensuring that vehicles used on company business are fit for purpose and are in a safe condition and that drivers are capable and trained to use them safely.

The main legal instruments are:

 

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Regulation 2 General duties of employers to their employees

  1. It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.
  2. Without prejudice to the generality of an employer's duty under the preceding subsection, the matters to which that duty extends include in particular—
    1. the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health;
    2. arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances;
    3. the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;
    4. so far as is reasonably practicable as regards any place of work under the employer's control, the maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and maintenance of means of access to and egress from it that are safe and without such risks;
    5. the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.

Regulation 3 General duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees

  1. 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 thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.

Read The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

 

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Risk assessment

Regulation 3

  1. Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of—
    1. the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and
    2. the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking,

for the purpose of identifying the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions and by Part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997.

Health and safety arrangements

Regulation 5

  1. Every employer shall make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the nature of his activities and the size of his undertaking, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures.

Capabilities and training

Regulation 13

  1. Every employer shall, in entrusting tasks to his employees, take into account their capabilities as regards health and safety.
  2. Every employer shall ensure that his employees are provided with adequate health and safety training—
    1. on their being recruited into the employer's undertaking; and
    2. on their being exposed to new or increased risks because of—
      1. their being transferred or given a change of responsibilities within the employer's undertaking,
      2. the introduction of new work equipment into or a change respecting work equipment already in use within the employer's undertaking,
      3. the introduction of new technology into the employer's undertaking, or
      4. the introduction of a new system of work into or a change respecting a system of work already in use within the employer's undertaking.
  3. The training referred to in paragraph (2) shall—
    1. be repeated periodically where appropriate;
    2. be adapted to take account of any new or changed risks to the health and safety of the employees concerned; and
    3. take place during working hours.

Read The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

 

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

Interpretation

Regulation 2

  1. In these Regulations, unless the context otherwise requires—
    • "use" in relation to work equipment means any activity involving work equipment and includes starting, stopping, programming, setting, transporting, repairing, modifying, maintaining, servicing and cleaning;
    • "work equipment" means any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work (whether exclusively or not);
    and related expressions shall be construed accordingly.

Suitability of work equipment

Regulation 4

  1. Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided.
  2. In selecting work equipment, every employer shall have regard to the working conditions and to the risks to the health and safety of persons which exist in the premises or undertaking in which that work equipment is to be used and any additional risk posed by the use of that work equipment.
  3. Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is used only for operations for which, and under conditions for which, it is suitable.
  4. In this regulation "suitable" means suitable in any respect which it is reasonably foreseeable will affect the health or safety of any person.

Information and instructions

Regulation 8

  1. Every employer shall ensure that all persons who use work equipment have available to them adequate health and safety information and, where appropriate, written instructions pertaining to the use of the work equipment.
  2. Every employer shall ensure that any of his employees who supervises or manages the use of work equipment has available to him adequate health and safety information and, where appropriate, written instructions pertaining to the use of the work equipment.
  3. Without prejudice to the generality of paragraphs (1) or (2), the information and instructions required by either of those paragraphs shall include information and, where appropriate, written instructions on—
    1. the conditions in which and the methods by which the work equipment may be used;
    2. foreseeable abnormal situations and the action to be taken if such a situation were to occur; and
    3. any conclusions to be drawn from experience in using the work equipment.
  4. Information and instructions required by this regulation shall be readily comprehensible to those concerned.

Read The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

 

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Corporate Manslaughter Act

The offence

Regulation 1

  1. An organisation to which this section applies is guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised—
    1. causes a person's death, and
    2. amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.
  1. An organisation is guilty of an offence under this section only if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its senior management is a substantial element in the breach referred to in subsection (1).
  2. For the purposes of this Act—
    1. "senior management", in relation to an organisation, means the persons who play significant roles in—
      1. the making of decisions about how the whole or a substantial part of its activities are to be managed or organised, or
      2. the actual managing or organising of the whole or a substantial part of those activities.

To be guilty of corporate manslaughter or corporate homicide, an organisation must have owed a "relevant duty of care" to the victim. As described above, under the Health and Safety Act 1974, employers have a duty or care to their employees and to anyone else who may be affected by their operations.

Prosecutions are brought against the organisation itself and not specific individuals, but individual directors, managers and other employees may be called as witnesses. Senior managers are the persons who make significant decisions about how the whole or a substantial part of the organisation's activities are managed or organised; or who actually manage or organise those activities.

Sentences can include an unlimited fine, a publicity order (requiring the company to publicise that it has been convicted and why) and remedial orders (requiring action to ensure the offence is not repeated).

Read Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

 

Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008

Health and Safety Offences Act

The Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 came into force on 1 January 2009 and is aimed at individuals (for example, a manager) rather than the organisation itself. It did not introduce any new duties or offences, but increased the penalties that can be imposed on conviction for existing health and safety offences.

The Act:

  • Increased the maximum fine which may be imposed in the lower courts to £20,000 for most health and safety offences;
  • made a prison sentence of up to two years an option for more health and safety offences in both the lower and higher courts;
  • made certain offences, which are currently triable only in the lower courts, triable in either the lower or higher courts.

Read Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008.