What is “The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999”
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 is the regulation which places a duty on employers to assess and manage risks to their employees and others arising from work activities. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 does it only place duties on employers, it also places a duty on the employees.
It states categorically that employers must make arrangements to ensure the health and safety of the workplace; must also make arrangements for emergencies, adequate information and training for employees and for health surveillance where appropriate.
Employees must work safely in accordance with their training and instructions given to them. Employees must also notify the employer or the person responsible for health and safety of any serious or immediate danger to health and safety or any shortcoming in health and safety arrangements.
In summary, below are the key areas covered by “The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999”
- Making ‘assessments of risk’ to the health and safety of its workforce, and to act upon risks they identify, so as to reduce them (Regulation 3);
- Appointing competent persons to oversee workplace health and safety;
- Providing workers with information and training on occupational health and safety; and
- Operating a written health and safety policy.
- Make arrangements for implementing the health and safety measures identified as necessary by the risk assessment
- Appoint competent people (often themselves or company colleagues) to help them to implement the arrangements
- Set up emergency procedures
- Work together with other employers sharing the same workplace.
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The management of Health and Safety at work regulation 1999 is a legal guide provided by regulatory bodies to help manage Health and Safety in the workplace, thereby preventing accident.
Before we conclude, let’s talk about “Health and Safety Management System”.
What is a Safety and Health Management System?
A safety and health management system means the part of the Organisation’s management system which covers:
- The health and safety work organisation and policy in a company
- The planning process for accident and ill health prevention
- The line management responsibilities and
- The practices, procedures and resources for developing and implementing, reviewing and maintaining the occupational safety and health policy.
The system should cover the entire gambit of an employer’s occupational health and safety organisation. The key elements of a successful safety and health management system are:
- Policy and commitment
The workplace should prepare an occupational safety and health policy programme as part of the preparation of the Safety Statement required by Section 20 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. Effective safety and health policies should set a clear direction for the organisation to follow. They will contribute to all aspects of business performance as part of a demonstrable commitment to continuous improvement. Responsibilities to people and the working environment will be met in a way that fulfills the spirit and letter of the law. Cost-effective approaches to preserving and developing human and physical resources will reduce financial losses and liabilities. In a wider context, stakeholders’ expectations, whether they are shareholders, employees or their representatives, customers or society at large, can be met.
The workplace should formulate a plan to fulfill its safety and health policy as set out in the Safety Statement. An effective management structure and arrangements should be put in place for delivering the policy. Safety and health objectives and targets should be set for all managers and employees.
- Implementation and operation
For effective implementation, organisations should develop the capabilities and support mechanisms necessary to achieve the safety and health policy, objectives and targets. All staff should be motivated and empowered to work safely and to protect their long-term health, not simply to avoid accidents. These arrangements should be:
- Underpinned by effective staff involvement and participation through appropriate consultation, the use of the safety committee where it exists and the safety representation system and,
- Sustained by effective communication and the promotion of competence, which allows all employees and their representatives to make a responsible and informed contribution to the safety and health effort.
There should be a planned and systematic approach to implementing the safety and health policy through an effective safety and health management system. The aim is to minimize risks. Risk Assessment methods should be used to determine priorities and set objectives for eliminating hazards and reducing risks. Wherever possible, risks should be eliminated through the selection and design of facilities, equipment and processes. If risks cannot be eliminated, they should be minimized by the use of physical controls and safe systems of work or, as a last resort, through the provision of PPE. Performance standards should be established and used for measuring achievement. Specific actions to promote a positive safety and health culture should be identified. There should be a shared common understanding of the organisation‘s vision, values and beliefs on health and safety. The visible and active leadership of senior managers fosters a positive safety and health culture.
- Measuring performance
The organisation should measure, monitor and evaluate safety and health performance. Performance can be measured against agreed standards to reveal when and where improvement is needed. Active self-monitoring reveals how effectively the safety and health management system is functioning. Self-monitoring looks at both hardware (premises, plant and substances) and software (people, procedures and systems, including individual behaviour and performance). If controls fail, reactive monitoring should find out why they failed, by investigating the accidents, ill health or incidents, which could have caused harm or loss. The objectives of active and reactive monitoring are:
- To determine the immediate causes of substandard performance
- To identify any underlying causes and implications for the design and operation of the safety and health management system.
- Auditing and reviewing performance
The organisation should review and improve its safety and health management system continuously, so that it’s overall safety and health performance improves constantly. The organisation can learn from relevant experience and apply the lessons. There should be a systematic review of performance based on data from monitoring and from independent audits of the whole safety and health management system. These form the basis of complying with the organisation’s responsibilities under the 2005 Act and other statutory provisions. There should be a strong commitment to continuous improvement involving the development of policies, systems and techniques of risk control. Performance should be assessed by:
- Internal reference to key performance indicators
- External comparison with the performance of business competitors and best practice in the organisation’s employment sector.
Many companies now report on how well they have performed on worker safety and health in their annual reports and how they have fulfilled their responsibilities with regard to preparing and implementing their Safety Statements. In addition, employers have greater responsibilities under Section 80 of the 2005 Act on ‘Liability of Directors and Officers of Undertakings’ that requires them to be in a position to prove they have pro-actively managed the safety and health of their workers. Data from this ‘Auditing and reviewing performance’ process should be used for these purposes.