It is well understood that all employers have a duty to provide a safe system of work for their employees. This covers employees not only working at your premises but also from home or at another site.
Health and Safety law is governed by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. This Act sets out the general health and safety duties required to be carried out by employers. This is supplemented by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. These Regulations spell out in more detail the general duties specified in the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Under the Regulations employers need to carry out regular risk assessments and to have written policies as to how health and safety risks are to be managed. However, just having a policy is insufficient as employers have to ensure that their staff know and understand these policies and their own responsibilities. Employers with 5 or more employees have to record risk assessments in writing. Larger contractors are well used to providing health and safety information as part of their tenders for work and managing health and safety on site. But this obligation applies to their own offices as well.
If a business fails to ensure the safety of its employees then that business is at risk of a prosecution from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and a personal injury claim from the employee if there is an accident. Now that the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act is in force, company directors or senior employees of the employer company are at risk personally from prosecution when it can be shown that they are in breach of their duty which resulted from the death of an employee. It is therefore essential for construction companies to make sure that they carry out risk assessments on a regular basis, regularly update their policies on Health and Safety, and make sure the staff are aware of these policies and that training is given to ensure that employees are aware of the risks involved.
At Silver Shemmings we have the expertise to provide advice in respect of claims brought by the Health and Safety Executive against employers and can give advice on Health and Safety legislation as well as helping businesses ensure compliance with current Health and Safety legislation.