Definition of Criminal Law
In most cases, you will find that safety and health inspectors either warn or advise instead o taking action, despite having power. They only utilise it when judgment has to be passed to an individual for their personal injury. The step that they take is basically going for an inspection without giving out the details like date and time of their visit. This sudden visit takes place only after confirming the monitoring is apropos.
The inspectors do have legal rights to go to a premise and take any sample that they may think to be important as sample or proof. If a corporation or employer may be dissatisfied with the findings, a health inspector on the grounds of improvement can issue a notice of improvement to be in action from a particular date.
Suppose an inspector finds more serious conditions. In this case, they also have the right to issue prohibition notices, giving legal orders to stop using any machinery. This order remains active until the employer complies with the orders.
In case, any statutory notices are breached, there can be severe consequences. If you go through the reports of Health and Safety Executive Order, you will find a huge number of prosecutions, nearly thousands, to be fined for non-compliance. The amount can be as high as £20,000. When talking about prosecutions, it can also be about the visible injuries that a company did not pay any heed. If the firm is found guilty and the injury is found to be fatalistic, the fine amount can be of several thousand pounds in the context of manslaughter.
There have been cases where on being proved guilty, a company has to cough up a huge amount as compensation and controlling directors had to face custodial sentences.
In the year 1994, there had been a controversial case at Lyme Bay. An adventure firm’s manager was penalized£60,000 as well as 3 years imprisonment as 4 teenagers lost their lives. If taken the cases of recent years, government has taken strict actions and launched information regarding offences that come under corporate king. This initiative was mainly taken after rail accident numbers increased.
In the UK, most of the safety and health laws are regulated by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Its main aims are:
- Management of environmental emissions those are potentially dangerous
- Administer storage and usage of dangerous substances
- Secure workplace activities and provide risk protection to general public
- To ensure and ascertain welfare, safety, and health of people in their workplaces
To ensure all these aspects at in place, this Act makes sure that the regulations are abided by every individual. In order to give a safe and healthy workplace environment, there is certain regulation imposed on equipment and plants. The rules are created only after consulting with representatives of a trade union.
Aside to this, there are also another set of regulations that are implemented when the consideration is regarding the use of equipment or hazardous substances. As per those rules, people are required to have proper training to use those products and equipment and have idea of handling, storage, and transport. In case there is addition of workers, it is mandatory that they receive written safety and health policies and those should be updated and alerted to all staff.
It is necessary as well expected from employers that they foresee the risk factors and evaluate those to make the workplace secure. After recognising the risk, reasonable improvements must be implemented. These may be in areas like employee expectation or issues related to surplus costing.
A company’s managing body basically looks into various operations. Some of them are like:
- Policy implementation
- Taking care of equipment and plant operation
- Seeing that every requirement of Act is fulfilled or not
- Policy statements are specific or not
Aside to these, there are also other duties that management body has to perform. They have to see that all the responsibilities regarding the health and safety issues of employees are solved. As the employee is a legal responsibility of a company and also bound to the, it is also imperative that the workers so follow the rules that the company has imposed on them. In case an employee fails to abide by those rules, they are also liable to punishment.
An Act in 1974 gave rights to trade unions where they can initiate certain duties. Their task is to carry out inspections based on the complaints of company staff. It is mandatory for safety representatives to perform their duties by completing their necessary training. It is also important that they have amenities like photocopying, secure filing, telephone access, and noticeboard.
A new legislation was introduced in the year 1993 that stated that a manager has no special power that will direct which candidate to choose for a post and the duration of which that person will remain hired.
The First Aid Regulations 1981
As per this act, it is imperative that an employer has to provide basic first aid to the employee in case he or she suffered any injuries during working hours. It is advice that safety measures are taken, and proper first aid training is provided to everyone. It is also suggested that the training teacher and student ratio in this context should be 1 : 50 / 100. In case the workplace is a chemical plant or a construction site, more number of employees should be provided safety training.
COSHH or The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988
This act has 4 approved codes and 19 regulations. As per this act, the main aim is to safeguard employees from various hazardous situations by implementing certain requirements. These requirements are mostly for having a basic idea of how a hazardous substances or equipment are to be handled, controlled and utilised. Application of this regulation is in every company, irrespective of its work or its size. In this case, the firm can be a plant or a hotel. Environmental hygiene requires to e maintained not just for the owners but for the workers too. Safety measures are for most of the common as well as uncommon elements. They may be:
- Underground substances
- Ionizing radiations emitting materials
It is imperative that he employers should consider these 5 aspects when dealing with hazardous elements.
Proper training and information have to be imparted so that employees can avoid the risk factors.
Records should be maintained of the adverse situations (if already arisen) so that other budding issues can be resolved at the initial point.
Employers need to ensure that proper safety measures are taken after assessing the situation and equipment in a workplace. Again, proper monitoring is required to keep a check on employees who work with hazardous elements to reduce serious health hazards.
As a preventive measure, changing the used processes or serious health hazards or removing the harmful substances and substituting with the ones that can be controlled.
Analyzing the risks that are related to the substances being utilised in the workplace. After the assessment is complete, carrying on with the work with adequate preventive measures.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992
Temporary Workers Directives and EU’s Framework are its application. The latter is also called umbrella act as it’s as umbrella directive to the Framework Directive. Daughter directives are extra rules that are issued for particular areas and are within the framework.
The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996
As per this act, it is necessary that every safety and health issues are created after consultation with employees. The word consultation itself expresses the meaning of discussion where both parties talk and listen in an apropos manner so that views are expressed, and a result can be expected. In case recognition of trade unions is necessary, higher is the requirement of consultation.
The Working Time Regulations 1998
This is one of the new additions that were introduced by the safety and health law of UK. Similar to the workings of the other legislatures, safety and health officers enforce the regulations. Employment tribunal directly listens to the employee complaints in case the owners refrain from acknowledging their problems. Origination of this law’s working schedule is actually based on Working Time Directive of EU (1993). Only after majority voting qualification, the agreement was signed by Council of Ministers.
There were also certain moves to negate this voting with the help of legal imposition on problematic social areas. But European Court of Justice turns down all of those allegations.
As per the consideration of people who are between 16 years and 18 years, there are some extra regulations. Again, there are also another group of people like junior doctors and transport workers who have the freedom to choose their own working time.
Rules and regulations are related to the rights that are dependent on the mechanisms of a workplace. In case of bringing any change, the regulations should agree to the required variations. Agreement and recognition are done by trade union and is followed up by collective bargaining machinery.
Now there are certain workplaces which do not agree to the generalised workplace agreement. In such cases, there are 2 methods with which the agreement can be entrenched.
A representative can be selected from the group of workers who can act as a negotiator in front of the employer. With this step, a current safety and health committee can accomplish their functions.
Before settling with any of the pointers written in the agreement copy, an employer requires to have the approval of the employee. Only after employee agreement in the form of signatures can the papers be deemed as valid.
There are higher chances that the rules will be made stricter in the future. So, for stronger principals, the operations are reviewed by EU.