Health and Safety at Work

EXAM TIP – discuss both the Act and the Regulations

Exam Checklist

1. s2 HSWA “as far as reasonably practicable”

look at what the e/er has done including size and resources of the company then look at the degree of risk and decide whether e/er should have done eliminated/reduced the risk on the basis of the

cost, time, disruption to workforce, etc Framework of legislation and regulations:

 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) – it’s actually criminal legislation but you use it to show civil liability

– This provides the framework for modern health and safety legislation

– the Act specifically recognizes the need to progressively replace pre-1974 legislation by a system of Regulations and Approved

Codes of Practice (ACOPs) made under it.

The result will be that eventually, pre-1974 legislation will be repealed and those provisions which have modern application will exist as Regulations and ACOPs made under HSWA 1974

 – aim to secure the health, safety and welfare of people at work, inc employers, employees and self employed. Also protects people other than those at work against

risks to their health and safety arising out of work activities, i.e. visitors, contractors, even trespassers, it protects the public in general as well as employees.

 S.2 – ‘it shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees’.

Such things as system of work, use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances, info, instruction, training and supervision, place of work, plant; system of

work; use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances; information, instruction, training and supervision; place of work; and working environment

 ‘So far as is reasonably practicable’ means the degree of risk should be balanced against the time, trouble, cost and difficulty of taking measures to avoid the risk and is therefore less than absolute (Hawes v Railway Executive (1952) RB 199)

 Burden of proof is on the accused to prove reasonably practicable.

 S.2(3) requires every employer who carries on an undertaking employing 5 or more employees to prepare a written statement of health and safety policy.

 S.3 – obliges employers and self employed persons “so far as is reasonably practicable, to conduct their undertakings in such a way as to ensure that non- employees affected by work activities are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.” This covers public at large, visitors, contractors, even trespassers.

Non-employees range from outside contractors (R v Associated Octel Co Ltd) to visitors or even trespassers. Similar to the case of  abogados de accidentes de carro file.


Self employed people also have a duty to ensure that they do not risk their own health and safety by work activities, but the circs are rare in which a person will be prosecuted for being careless as regards his own safety.

 S.4 – anyone who has control on a non-domestic premises must, as far as is

reasonably practicable, take steps to ensure that there are no risks to the health and safety of people at work there who are not their employees. Aim is to place duties

on whoever has the power to redress the sources of hazard, i.e. a building owner or maintenance contractor.

 S.7 – all employees must take reasonable care for health and safety of themselves

and other persons and where duties are imposed on employees to co-operate with them to enable the duty or requirement to be carried out.

 S.8 – all people are required not to intentionally interfere with or misuse anything

which has been provided by law in the interests of health and safety, e.g. fire escapes, guards on machinery etc.