Legislation on Health and Safety is very extensive and complicated. These laws place general duties of care on Employers, Self Employed and Employees. Employers have a legal responsibility for ensuring that the premises under their control are safe for working in.
Employers must ensure their employees Health & Safety at all times while at work. There is a duty on employers to have in place procedures whereby they can consult with employees on how the various Health & Safety Legislation can be complied with. There is a responsibility on Employers to:
- Provide and Maintain a Safe Workplace, Machinery and Equipment.
- Manage Work to ensure the Safety, Health and Welfare of Employees.
- Ensure Risks are assessed and a Safety Statement is put in Place.
- Provide and Maintain decent welfare facilities for employees.
- Prepare and Update Emergency Procedures
- Provide Appropriate Training and Information.
Research estimates that the cost of work related accidents and ill health could be as much as €3.6 bn. Lost outputs are estimated to be €1.8 bn while insurance costs are approximately €1.2 bn.
Section 20 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 requires that an organisation produce a written programme to safeguard:
- The Safety and Health of Employees while they work.
- The Safety and Health of other people who might be at the workplace, including clients, visitors and members of the public.
A Safety Statement is simply a tool to improve Safety. All employers must prepare a Health & Safety statement in writing which will spell out a programme for managing Health & Safety and how the employer intends complying with the law.
Health & Safety principles are universal, but how much action is needed will depend on the size of the organisation, the hazards presented by its activities, the physical chacteristics of the organisation, services provided, and the adequacy of existing arrangements.
In preparing a statement it is useful to review the most common causes of accidents and if these hazards exist on your premises, deal with them in the statement. The statement should also name those persons in the organisation for ensuring that safety controls are put and retained in place. It must identify risks and controls and include emergency plans. It needs to be communicated throughout the organisation and updated regularly.
The HSA has produced guidelines on safety statement preparation and also have a wide range of publications available to download or to request in print. Most downloadable publications are available free of charge. For more information go to www.hsa.ie.
The Health & Safety Authority has produced a new tool to assist small employers gererate their own Risk Assessments and Safety Statements as required under health & safety law. It will help employers identify hazards in their workplace and thus make their workplace safer. This tool is free of charge but you will need to create an account which will allow you to save the work you have already done and return to it at a later stage.
We strongly recommend that all employers avail of this resource and create a risk assessment and safety statement specific to your own workplace. Simply go to http://besmart.hsa.ie and follow the step by step process.
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