Health and safety and wellbeing

By Tolley in association with Hannah Freeman at Old Square Chambers
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The following Employment Tax guidance note by Tolley in association with Hannah Freeman at Old Square Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Health and safety and wellbeing
  • Joint Responsibility
  • Health and Safety Policies
  • Risk assessments
  • Training and information
  • Workplace Facilities
  • First aid, accidents and ill health
  • Rest breaks
  • Night working

The main Act of Parliament dealing with safety at work is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) (subscription sensitive). There are also numerous regulations made under the Act and a number of other Acts outside the scope of this note. For a more detailed discussion of those regulations, see Tolley's Employment Law Service, paras H2001–H20117.

Under the HSWA, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was established. The HSE monitors and enforces safety standards, and seeks to promote and improve workplace safety. The HSE website  contains a wealth of information and resources for employers.

Employers should note that a failure to ensure an employee’s safety at work may well be a breach of the contract of employment and might entitle an employee to resign and claim constructive dismissal.

Joint Responsibility

The HSWA promotes the idea that the most effective way of ensuring workplace safety is to make safety a joint responsibility of employer and workers. Originally the focus was on involving recognised trade unions in the area of health and safety. However, with the decline in the number of unionised workplaces, regulations have been introduced extending the same responsibilities and protections to workers in non-unionised undertakings.

The combined effect of the union and non-union regulations is that every employer must now regularly consult his employees about health and safety at work. Employers should note that ‘health and safety at work’ is a very broad concept and can include matters such as working hours.

Consultation essentially involves employers talking and listening to employees about health and safety and the work they do, how risks are controlled and the best ways of providing information and training in relation to health and safety.

Any independent and recognised trade union may appoint a safety representative for any workplace where it has a membership. The functions of a

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