The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 and Safety, and Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 1993, place a legal requirement on all employers to have completed a risk assessment and produce a health and safety statement regarding the welfare of staff while they are at work.
The Health and Safety Authority monitors the implementation of the Act and aims to promote awareness of safety issues among employers and employees.
The Act places a statutory duty on employers to take responsibility for the health and safety of employees in the workplace. The Act imposes duties of care on both employers and employees:
Duties of Employers
This list is not exhaustive. If an employer neglects to provide for other safety measures that are required it would not be a valid defence if an employee results in injury.
- To provide a safe place of work
- To provide safe access and exit points
- To provide safe plant and equipment
- To provide safe systems of work
- To provide adequate instructions and training for employees
- To provide appropriate protective clothing and equipment
Duties of Employees
- To take reasonable care for his/her own safety and that of any other person who may be affected by his/her acts or omissions while at work
- To co-operate with the employer and any other person to such an extent as will enable his/her employer to comply with the law on health and safety
- To use protective clothing/equipment as provided
- To report anything at work that might endanger safety
- Not to interfere with any system for securing safety
- Not be under the influence of an intoxicant at the place of work to the extent that the state he or she is in is likely to endanger his/her own safety, health or welfare at work or that of any other person
Under Section 20 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, all employers including the self-employed must prepare a Safety Statement, which identifies the risks and hazards of the workplace. The Safety Statement must also outline how these dangers are to be eliminated, controlled or protected to ensure that there is a safer working environment.
The Aims of a Safety Statement are:
- To involve management up to the top level in a clear programme of action.
- To stimulate action to ensure compliance with the statutory safety and health requirements.
- To identify hazards and to prioritise remedial action which is based on the risk of injury to exposed persons.
- To ensure safety measures are kept in place and monitored on a regular basis.
- To identify and assign clear responsibilities in relation to safety and health issues.
- To ensure systematic follow up of issues when identified.
- To ensure that resources are assigned to safety and health issues.
- To assist in gaining commitment from all persons in the work place.
There are many Health and Safety Consultants who can assist you as an employer to draft and maintain Safety Statements. Their services can aid in hazard identification, implementing control measures, correct operation of safety management systems, periodic reviews of hazards, creating and maintaining a culture of risk awareness, training and on-going support.
The Health and Safety Authority is also available to provide information and advice on compiling a Health and Safety Statement.