THE GENERAL REQUIREMENT…
The management of health and safety at work regulations 1999 as amended in 2003 and 2006 (or more commonly MHSAW regulations) was introduced to support the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 and specify a range of management issues that must be addressed and implemented in all workplaces.
The overall aim of the regulations is to identify the risks within an organization in a systematic way and ensure that all staff are familiar with the measures and their responsibilities towards implementing those measures.
REGULATION 3. THE RISK ASSESSMENT.
Every employer is required to carry out a ‘suitable and sufficient’ assessment of the risks involved to both employees and others who may be affected by the work of the organization.
This may include members of the public, visitors, contractors or anybody who may be affected by the acts of the works in progress.
A systematic assessment of the risks involved is required, as well as identifying those involved or who might be affected and the controls put in place to reduce or eliminate the risk.
Special note, awareness and risk avoidance must be made of any young or vulnerable persons, and any employee who may be expecting or nursing a child.
Where there are 5 or more people in the organisation, the significant risks and controls must be written down or recorded electronically such as on a computer or hand held device.
The assessment should also be revisited and reviewed regularly, particularly if there has been any changes to the working situation. In that case the assessment should be modified accordingly.
Examples of this might include the introduction of new machinery or a new operator. Changes in shift patterns requiring a handover, a change of location or premises, a change of ownership, after a period of time (typically 12-months), or any other time that circumstances might make it necessary.
REGULATION 5. ARRANGEMENTS FOR HEALTH and SAFETY. (The Health & Safety Policy)
Formal arrangements must be put into place to demonstrate effective and robust Planning, Organization, Control, Monitoring, and the Review of safety measures within an organisation.
Where there are 5 or more employees then this must be a written document.
> Planning. This requires a simple but systematic approach to the assessment of risk within an organisation towards employees, visitors and anybody else who may be affected by its actions. Also, the controls must be identified to either reduce the risk to the lowest practicable level, or where possible eliminate the risk entirely by devising a different method of work.
> Organisation. Involvement of employees in consultation and risk assessing their job role, along with suitable training and instruction so that everybody knows their responsibility towards health and safety in the workplace.
> Control. The policy requires an element of control and clarification so that everybody is aware of their roles and responsibility and the hazards can be controlled.
> Monitoring. Requires the measurement of how well the controls are being implemented. This might include management inspections, documented daily check, a review of incident and accident statistics or even absenteeism.
> Review. The system (or policy) should be reviewed regularly (at least annually) to ensure it is still relevant, effective and on track to achieve its purpose.
REGULATION 6. HEALTH SURVEILLANCE.
In appropriate circumstances the health surveillance of employees may be required.
Health surveillance may be required when there is evidence of an identifiable disease or a work practice that has the potential to cause illness, such as working with chemicals, processes, fumes, dusts and mists for example.
REGULATION 7. COMPETENT ASSISTANCE.
Every employer or organization is required to appoint competent assistance to assist in discharging the duties that the company has towards safety and health.
This may be an internal appointee or an external consultant. However, the preference is towards internal competent person or persons backed up by external expertise.
Competence is measured by appropriate training, knowledge of the workplace processes and being aware of one’s own limitations. At that point, or if the situation is complex it is handed over to a suitably qualified external consultant.
Appointed competent persons must be provided with adequate resources, time and information to do their job properly.
REGULATIONS 8 & 9. PROCEDURES FOR DANGER OR SERIOUS SITUATIONS.
Procedures must be put into place for serious situations such as fire.
A sufficient number of trained competent persons must be in place to deal with evacuation in the case of such emergencies.
In a shared building, the different occupants must cooperate with each other and not block off shared emergency access routes for example. (Also see regulations 11, 12, 15 for shared workplaces)
Access to dangerous areas must be restricted to appointed persons who must be trained, and contact with outside emergency services must be part of an established procedure.
REGULATION 10. INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYEES.
Employees must be provided with information on risk assessments, emergency procedures and health and safety matters, taking into account factors such as experience of the employees, knowledge, training and language differences.
It should be provided in a way that is easily understood, giving consideration to translations, pictograms and symbols.
Where children under school-leaving age are working on the premises, information about risk and risk control should be provided to the parents or guardian of the child. It can be provided written or verbally.
REGULATION 13. CAPABILITIES AND TRAINING
When giving tasks to employees, their capabilities in regard to health and safety must be considered.
Employees must be given adequate health and safety training when:
> Inducted into a new job or role.
> On being exposed to new or increased risks.
> When introducing new procedures or technology.
Training must be repeated as required in order to stay fresh or keep up with changes, and take place during working or paid time.
REGULATION 14. DUTIES ON EMPLOYEES.
Equipment, tools and materials must be used properly in accordance with manufacturer instructions and training given.
Employees also have obligations to report any short comings in the employer’s protection arrangements or serious and immediate dangers.
REGULATIONS 16-18. NEW OR EXPECTANT MOTHERS
Where the work could cause risk harm or illness to a new or expectant mother (or baby) working on the premises, the risk assessment must include an assessment of the risk.
Where the risk cannot be avoided, then the employer must alter the woman’s working arrangement or hours to avoid the risk, offer suitable alternative work, or suspend from work on full pay.
The woman must notify her employer in writing of her pregnancy, or that she has given birth within the last 6-months, or that she is breastfeeding.
REGULATION 19. YOUNG PERSONS.
Employers must protect young workers from harm at work due to lack of maturity, lack of experience and absence of awareness of dangers surrounding them.
The regulations surrounding young people go into a certain amount of depth and can be read in more detail HERE. (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg364.pdf)
REGULATIONS 21-22. LIABILITY and RESTRICTION OF CIVIL LIABILITY
These regulations refer to the defence of civil action taken against the employer and can be read in more detail HERE and regulation 21 refers to an employer avoiding prosecution by blaming a breach solely on an employee or adviser.
It’s a complicated area that often requires the input of a legal entity.
And last but not least
We all have a role to play in effective health and safety, and for those actively involved in promoting safe working practices it can be a rewarding, interesting and varied role.
Please visit this site often where you will find a growing number of articles, resources, advice and opinion.
You can download the handy HSE Guide on MHSAW regulations HERE along with the rest of the Six-Pack
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Due to the ever-changing nature of regulations and the law, please visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/ for the very latest information and updates.