Safety Literate are you...?

Due to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 which came into force on 4 April 2016, senior business officers can be held personally liable for the safety of their workplace and must accept the responsibility as part of their position

You are required to be safety literate which means you need be informed about safety initiatives at the workplace and investigate your officers and workers about safe management practices, exercise due diligence and ensure the company complies with the act. The requirement on the employer to take all practicable steps to ensure workplace health and safety is not lessened or dispelled if the injury occurred through any employee/worker’s carelessness or stupidity.

A recent case highlighted the importance of employer liability, where although the worker at fault accepted that he was responsible for the incident, the employer was held legally responsible. The worker knowingly continued working on a machine that lacked appropriate guards, and sustained serious injuries in the process. The worker accepted that he breached the company’s health and safety rules and procedures, however, the accident could have been averted had there been a safety guard. The Judge found the employer guilty as this was a reasonable foreseeable situation and could have been easily mitigated. It was clear that the employer had put in place a series of safety procedures which, if complied with, would’ve prevented the accident.

Employers must:

  • Acquire and continually develop up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters.
  • Know they are expected to competently understand of the nature of the business’ processes as well as the hazards/ risks related.
  • Provide resources and processes to ensure that the company has appropriate resources and procedures in place to eliminate or reduce the risks.
  • Officers must establish and maintain appropriate processes for reporting accidents and hazards and risks as well as analysing them and responding in a suitable manner.
  • Employers must ensure the company implements processes for complying with any duty or obligation of the Health and Safety Law
  • Directors must verify the provision and use of the resources and processes required.

As aptly quoted by Sir Peter Jackson (Ex Director of Weta workshop) on the new Health and Safety Law, – “The age of the sleeping director is absolutely dead,” he said. “This reinforces the need for directors to be across all aspects of their role, with health and safety being a key consideration.”


Published by Elliot Newton

My Health And Safety

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