OVERVIEW

The Health and Safety Executive is a quango (non-departmental public body) meaning it acts independently from Ministers and the Government. It is the body responsible for the
encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare.

There is no pro-forma of activities that if undertaken will ensure compliance. Health and Safety is governed more by delegation to the employer to form policies, undertake risk assessments and devise appropriate steps. The nature of hazards and the resulting impact of an event features in what is considered reasonable. The result is a highly flexible and broad ranging framework, but an almost complete absence of certainty of compliance. Penalties for failure to comply can be severe – for both company directors and organisations, including hefty fines and jail terms.

The HSE does offer some steps to follow, and there are some statutory requirements.

The HSE recommends:

  1. The employer should appoint someone ‘competent’ to help
  2. Write a policy
  3. Identify the risks in the business to H&S and decide what to do to control them
  4. Consult with employees and provide information and training
  5. Provide workplace facilities (toilets and hand wash, drinking water, rest space and adequate working conditions including adequate heating and ventilation)
  6. Make arrangements for first aid in the event of an accident or ill health
  7. Display the health and safety law poster
  8. Carry employers liability insurance