Relevant statutory provisions
- Reasonably practicable: The employer must assess and balance the risks of danger against the cost, time and effort involved in removing that danger. If the risk is small but the associated costs in money time and effort are high, it may not be reasonably practicable to remove it. However, as risk increases, the more difficult it becomes for the employer to show that it is not reasonably practicable to take action against it.
- Absolute: If the requirement is absolute (eg the employer shall) then it must be met regardless of the time, cost and effort involved.
The Health and Safety at Work (HSW) Act (1974)
Duties of employers
As an employer the University has a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health safety and welfare of its employees (Section 2 (1)).
This duty includes:
- the provision and maintenance of plant (eg portable electrical appliances) and systems of work that are safe and without risk to health (Section 2.2(a));
- the making of arrangements for ensuring safety and absence of risk when using, handling or transporting articles and substances (Section 2.2(b)); and
- the provision of appropriate health and safety information, instruction, training and supervision;
The University also has a duty to conduct its work in such a way as to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, persons not in its employment (eg students, visitors and members of the public) are not exposed to risks to their health or safety (Section 3(1)).
It shall be the duty of any person (within or outside the University) who designs, manufactures, imports or supplies any article for use at work: to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that
- the article is so designed as to be safe and without risks to health when properly used (Section 6.1(a));
- such testing and examination is carried out to allow the article to be used safely and without risk to health (Section 6.1(b)); and
- adequate information about the use for which it was designed is provided (Section 6.1(c)).
Duties of employees
It shall be the duty of every employee of the University, while at work :
- to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions (Section 7(a)); and
- as regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer (or and other person by or under any of the relevant statutory provisions) to co-operate with him, so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with (Section 7(b)).
Electricity at Work Regulations (1989)
All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent danger (Regulation 4.1).
As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger (Regulation 4.2).
Every work activity, including operation, use and maintenance of a system and work near a system, shall be carried out in such a manner as not to give rise, so far as is reasonably practicable, to danger (Regulation 4.3).
Any equipment provided for the purpose of protecting persons at work on or near electrical equipment shall be suitable for the use for which it was provided, be maintained in a condition suitable for that use, and be properly used (Regulation 4.4).
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1992)
Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair (Regulation 6.1).
Every employer shall ensure that where any machinery has a maintenance log, the log is kept up to date (Regulation 6.2).
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1992)
Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of :
- the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work (Regulation 3.1 (a)); and
- the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with his undertaking (Regulation 3.1 (a)).