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The Health and Safety at Work Act was formed in 1974, this means you have a responsibility for the health and safety of your employees whilst they are working for you. However, employees do also have a responsibility for their own health and safety whilst at work. Everyone has a duty to comply with the Act, including employers, employees, trainees, self-employed, manufacturers, suppliers, designers, importers of work equipment. The Act places a general duty to ‘ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees’.
Employers must comply with the Act. They must: Provide and maintain safety equipment and safe systems of work.
Ensure materials used are properly stored, handled, used and transported.
Provide information, training, instruction and supervision – ensure staff are aware of instructions provided by manufacturers and suppliers of equipment.
Provide a safe place of employment.
Provide a safe working environment.
Provide a written safety policy/risk assessment.
Look after the health and safety of others, for example the public.
Talk to safety representatives.
Employees must comply with the Act. They must:
Take care of their own health and safety and that of other persons (employees may be liable).
Co-operate with their employers.
Not interfere with anything provided in the interest of health and safety.
Work at Height Regulations
The work at height regulations applies to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause harm. An employer must do all that is reasonably practicable to prevent anyone falling a distance that can cause injury.
Duties of the Employer
Avoid work at height where this is reasonably practicable. Use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls where you cannot avoid working at height. Where you cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall.
All work at height is properly planned, organised, supervised and carried out.
The place where work at height is done is safe.
All work at height takes account of weather conditions.
Those involved in work at height are instructed and trained.
Equipment for work at height is appropriately inspected.
The risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled.
Injury from falling objects is prevented.
Duties of the Employee
Protect their own health as well as the health and safety of anyone who may be affected from them working at height. Report any defects or risks from working at height. Make sure they use the protective equipment given by the employer such as a harness.
The role of the principal contractor
The principal contractor must makes and maintains arrangements to enable development, production and checking of health and safety and consult with workers, ensuring parties can inspect or copy information pertinent to health and safety.
The role of contractors
The contractor must ensure client awareness and plan, manage and monitor their workers (and those they control). He or she must assess workers, provide supervision, instructions and information, and comply with principal contractor’s directions.
The role of the client
The client must make ‘suitable arrangements’ to manage a project including allocation of time and resources and provide pre-construction information. The client is also responsible for ensuring that the construction phase plan is drawn up by the principal contractor and that there are set health and safety guidelines.
The role of the designer
A designer must ensure that they are satisfied that the client is aware of their own duties before commencing work. When preparing or modifying a design they must seek to eliminate any foreseeable risk to any person working on, maintaining or using the structure. Where risk cannot be eliminated, they must control it, inform the principle designer and include it in the health and safety file.
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