Health and Safety Legislation
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (known as RIDDOR), is the law that requires employers, and other people in control of work premises, to report and keep records of work-related accidents which cause death, work-related accidents which cause certain serious injuries (reportable injuries), diagnosed cases of certain industrial diseases and certain ‘dangerous occurrences’ (incidents with the potential to cause harm).
Health and Safety Offences Act 2008
The Health & Safety Offences Act 2008 amends the maximum penalties that can be made against defendants under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA) and subservient health and safety regulations. The Act increases fines for most existing health and safety offences from £5,000 to £20,000 in the Magistrate Court (the amount remains unlimited in the Crown Court). The Act also creates the threat of imprisonment for employees who may have contributed to a health and safety offence by their granting their consent, by connivance with others or neglect.
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007
The Workplace Chapter of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 (the General Application Regulations) has fire safety requirements as follows:
- Regulation 11: Doors and gates;
- Regulation 12: Emergency routes and exits;
- Regulation 13: Fire detection and fire fighting;
The Electricity Chapter has various requirements relevant to fire safety and the Safety Signs Chapter has requirements for fire-fighting equipment, emergency escape signs and fire-fighting signs.
The Work Equipment Chapter has fire safety requirements for the use of work equipment (Regulation 28) and the safety of self-propelled work equipment (Regulation 40).
The Personal Protective Equipment Chapter has provisions in relation to hot work and the use of personal protective equipment (Regulation 63 Schedule 2(a)(6)) and there are detailed requirements for accident and dangerous occurrence reporting.
For construction works, there are fire safety requirements in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013 with the The Control of Major Accident Hazards Involving Dangerous Substances Regulations (COMAH Regulations) dealing with the prevention of major accidents where significant quantities of substances with oxidising, flammable or explosive properties are stored.
Working at Heights Regulations 2005
The Working at Heights Regulations 2005 have revoked the working at height parts of the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996. The regulations are now applicable to all places of work and include all work activities where there is a need to control the risk of falling from any distance and therefore liable to cause personal injury.
The principle is that any work at height must be avoided if its practical to do the work in another way. If it can’t be avoided than a risk assessment must be carried out and the work planned accordingly.
With residential property such work would include:
- Working on a scaffold or from a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP);
- Work performed in trees;
- The use of cradles or ropes to gain access to parts of a building;
- Using a ladder/step ladder or kick stool for window cleaning, or other maintenance tasks such as changing a light bulb (if the freeholder supplies these then they need to be checked regularly and a notice placed on it detailing safety precautions for their use);
- Checking smoke detectors;
- Gutter cleaning.
A brief guide can be found here.
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
The Management of Health & Safety At Work Regulations 1999 covers the legal requirement of health and safety risk assessments. They require all employers to assess and manage health and safety risks with risk management involving the identifying and controlling, (by sensible health and safety measures), any potentially significant risk of accident or ill health under employer supervision such as contractors, leaseholders, members of the public and visitors.
Whilst these Regulations don’t provide for the frequency of health and safety reports, it is highly recommended that they at least be carried out annually in order to identify any hazards that could result in significant injury.
Note: There is a difference between the obligations of just repair and repair/keep in working order with the latter being a higher obligation requiring those areas to be capable of functioning for the purpose of which they are intended. However, as there is no legal definition of common areas it will be the lease that is the definitive document.
Two of the most important elements are Regulation 3 as it is requires general assessment of all risks to health arising from work. It’s aim is to establish an effective system of ‘preventive and protective measures’ to safeguard employees.
The other is Regulation 5 which requires employers to make arrangements to cover the ‘effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review’ of health and safety.
A large part of the service charge budget may be required to adhere to the legislation but failure to comply could come at a far greater cost should an accident or injury occur.
Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996
The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 cover various means of communicating health and safety information, such as the use of illuminated signs, hand and acoustic signals (e.g. fire alarms), spoken communication and the marking of pipework containing dangerous substances.
Employers are required to provide specific safety signs whenever there is a risk that has not been avoided or controlled by other means; for example, by engineering controls and safe systems of work. Fire safety signs (i.e. signs for fire exits and fire-fighting equipment) are also covered by the Regulations.
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain. It places wide-ranging duties on employers who must protect the ‘health, safety and welfare’ at work of all their employees, as well as others on their premises. This includes temps, casual workers, the self-employed, clients, visitors and the general public.
It is the Health and Safety Executive, along with local authorities (and other enforcing authorities) who are responsible for enforcing the Act as well as a number of other Acts and Statutory Instruments relevant to the working environment.
Under the Act there are also a number of regulations governing the safety of plant and equipment.
The first of those is the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) that states that all employers have an obligation to provide employees with a safe-work environment.
The implication of that requirement is that all work equipment requires a risk assessment and a decision to be taken as to whether regular examination is prudent and necessary.
A sub-section of this regulation is the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) that requires all equipment that lifts or lowers a load (including people) needs to be examined.
Although more specific than the PUWER definition, the LOLER requirement is still a plant non-specific definition, ensuring that the inventory of plant requiring examination continuously requires revision and revisiting.
The third set of guidelines is the Pressure System Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR) which govern the safe operation of pressure systems.
They call for regular examination in accordance with the written scheme and in order to ensure compliance there are three rules of thumb that should be adhered to:
- Any vessel that holds steam under pressure;
- Any vessel whose pressure multiplied by its volume is greater than 250 Bar Litres;
- Any Air Conditioning Unit with more than 25Kw of total installed power.