How the HSE blindly follows Government Covid guidance
The HSE is the regulatory authority responsible for ensuring employers are acting responsibly and in the event they are not doing so, to prosecute employer's whose neglect of their legal responsibilities puts the safety and welfare of their employees at risk.
However their precautionary and preventative approach to employer's workplaces, which requires visits to workplaces, investigate complaints from workers or the local community who may be at risk of harm as a result of the employer's activities and workplace procedures, machinery, equipment and materials; has all but gone as a result of lack of resources and Government dictate.
The HSE has been under resourced for years ever since the 1974 Act and establishment of the HSE as an enforcing authority. But more recently and since 2010 under Tory Governments, their remit has been changed and they are moore like a commercial organisation than one of enforcement.
The following are some of the key legislative health and safety requirements relating to the management of Coronavirus at the workplace. These are statutory duties, legally enforceable, carrying criminal charges if neglected.
Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974
Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977
Section 2: Duty to consult safety representatives
Regulation 4, right of reps to:
Make representations to employer Investigate hazards and dangerous occurrences
Conduct investigations and inspections
Personal Protective Equipment Regulations, 1992
Regulation 4: Duty to provide suitable equipment
Regulation 7: Duty to maintain PPE in working order
Management of H&S at Work Regulations, 1999
Regulation 3: Duty to undertake sufficient assessment of risks
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, 2002
Regulation 2: Duty to provide PPE where control of exposure cannot be achieved
Regulation 7: Duty to prevent or adequately control exposure – including pandemic flu (HSE)
The duty of the HSE is to help ensure that employers are ensurig their workplaces are safe for the employees and to provide appropriate and authoritative advice to employers, and if need be inspect workplaces of concern and follow-up complaints received from workers; with the ultimate authority to prosecute employers for failing to comply.
Covid-19 is a pandemic and rife in the UK, having cost an estimated over 180,000 lives. Following lockdowns and workers having to work from home, they are now back in their workplaces with vastly varying precautions set up by employers to safeguard workers and mitigate risks of air contamination, increased CO2 levels, and transmission of the virus between employees.
The Institute of Employment Rights have issued a publication entitled:
There is also an article on the IER website by Phil James Professor of Employment Relations, Middlesex University entitled Coronavirus at work: Where is the regulatory leadership? Click on image above left to read the article.
The publication illustrated by the image above to the right can be bought for between £3 and £8 direct from the IER website by clicking on the image.