The key safety responsibilities remain in force under the following legislation:
- Sections 2 and 3 of the Health & Safety At Work Etc Act 1974 (“HSAW”) - the obligation to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of your employees and also contractors and visitors to your sites.
- Section 7 of HSAW - the obligation of employees to act responsibly in relation to their own health & safety and to the health & safety of others in the workplace.
- The Management of Health & Safety At Work Regulation 1999 – these Regulations encapsulate (amongst other things) the duties to carry out a risk assessment of all activities and to keep such assessments under review.
- Section 37 of HSAW – in simple terms Section 37 of HSAW creates personal liability for Directors, Officers and Managers where it can be shown that the business committed an offence through the neglect, consent or connivance of the Director, Officer or Manager.
There are parallel provisions under Environmental Protection legislation and the Water Industry Act. Manufacturing sites are busy places employing people from different sectors and trades. Many will travel from outside the immediate locality of the working location and may need to use public transport. In the light of Covid-19, all these issues need to be safely and appropriately managed if the plant is to stay open.
At the same time as taking steps to minimise the spread of infection through social distancing and hygiene arrangements, the normal health and safety requirements of any ongoing activity must not be compromised.
The basic rules which must be followed at all times remain essential in the current environment – if an activity cannot be carried out safely due to lack of competent personnel or as a consequence of social distancing then it should not take place. This may make certain activities difficult to manage and undertake and will inevitably impact those on the ground making decisions in real-time.