Work and Safety Law

The Requirements of Occupational Health and Safety
If you are an employer you have to ensure that your workplace is maintained in a fashion that is safe for your workers. You have to comply with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety regulations (OSH)

This includes making sure that the equipment they use is appropriate and that they are well trained in it. You also have to make sure that all the various health and safety policies set down by the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 are followed by your staff.

About the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
This Act is about making work activities safe and healthy for all those that are involved in employment.

  • It does this by recognising that good employment relationships will result in safe and healthy workplaces.
  • Everyone that is involved in work, including the bosses, are the best people to decide on the measures that they need to bring in to ensure safety in the workplace.
  • The only sure way to ensure that workplaces are safe is to put in systematic management of anything that could be hazardous.

These specific arrangements could include the following:

  • Reinforce who is responsible.
  • Ensure that employees know that they have responsibilities as well as employers.
  • Make sure that both employers and employees work together in good faith for the safety of all.
  • Make clear that by the employees participating in these health and safety issues they will be more knowledgeable to deal with problems that may arise.

The Act is not there to tell employers how to operate their businesses to ensure safety or to dictate to employees. It has been put in place so that both employers and employee will together ensure that systems are in place for the protection of the workforce. Their main obligation is to make sure that reasonably practical steps have been taken to make the workplace safe. They of course do not have to be involved in things that they cannot possibly have any control over or that which they don’t know about.

About Workplaces
The Act deals with all the issues of safety and health in the workplace and during all work activity.

This applies to such things as:

  • Factories
  • Farms
  • Shops
  • Offices
  • Forestry Work
  • Construction
  • Aircraft Work
  • Work on Ships
  • Railways
  • Work that moves around such as trucking, vans etc

It places expectations on and in respect of:

  • Employer
  • Employees
  • Principals
  • Contractors
  • Sub-contractors
  • Self employed
  • Volunteers
  • People receiving work experience
  • People receiving training
  • Hirers of work equipment
  • Sellers and suppliers of equipment

While employees can expect their bosses to provide a healthy and safe workplace, they also have a part to play in making sure that they stay healthy and safe.

The Act clearly states that everyone has a role in the health and safety arena by making sure employers take into account the health and safety of all their employees:

  • By placing a duty on employees to ensure their own safety and health
  • By giving the employees an opportunity to have an input into the health and safety issues at their work
  • By giving the same employees representatives who have a special role in promoting health and safety on their behalf.