Employment Tax

Health and safety and wellbeing

Produced by Tolley in association with Hannah Freeman at Old Square Chambers
  • 19 Oct 2021 23:19

The following Employment Tax guidance note Produced 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

Health and safety and wellbeing

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

Under theHSWA, theHealth 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.

In addition to these statutory obligations, an employer is under a common law duty to take such steps as are reasonably necessary to ensure thesafety of its employees. An employer’s duty includes thefollowing:

  1. providing a safe place of work

  2. providing a safe mean of access to theplace of work

  3. providing safe plant and equipment

  4. providing a safe system of work

  5. employing competent fellow employees, and

  6. protecting employees from unnecessary risk of injury

Employers should note that a failure to ensure an employee’s safety at work may well be a breach of thecontract of employment and might entitle an employee to resign and claim constructive dismissal. The Employment Rights Act 1996 also protects employees from dismissal and victimisation by an employer in health and safety cases. See theContractual terms and Victimisation guidance notes.

Joint Responsibility

The HSWA promotes theidea that themost effective way of ensuring workplace safety is to make safety a joint responsibility of employer and workers. Originally thefocus was on involving recognised trade unions in thearea of health and safety. However, with thedecline in thenumber of unionised workplaces, regulations have been introduced extending thesame responsibilities and protections to workers in non-unionised undertakings.

The combined effect of theunion and non-union regulations is that every employer must now regularly consult its employees about health and safety at work.

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