The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) was introduced to replace a number of other previous regulations in place, brought in to supplement and extend the earlier legislation in place. It moves the focus over to the duties of the employers and their employees, stressing the importance of risk assessments to create a safer workplace for everyone.
It Requires the Employer to…
1. Assess the risks to health and safety for their employees and others who may be affected by their work.
• The following General Principles of Prevention should be applied when employers are assessing their staff. Many people refer to this as a hierarchy of risk control:
– Avoiding risks.
– Evaluating the risks that cannot be avoided.
– Combating the risks at their source.
– Adapting the work to the individual. This could refer to the design of the workplace, the choice of work equipment and the working methods. All this is with the aim of alleviating monotonous work, promoting work at a predetermined rate, and reducing the effects on their health.
– Adapting to technical progress.
– Replacing dangerous work factors with less or non-dangerous actions.
– Developing a prevention policy that covers technology, organisation of work, working conditions, social relationships and any other factors that relate to the working environment.
– Prioritising collective protective measures over individual protective measures.
– Providing appropriate instructions to employees.
2. Make appropriate arrangements in managing health and safety. Employers of 5 or more workers should record these arrangements in their written risk assessment.
3. Undertake any necessary health surveillance regarding the employees when it has been noted by the risk assessment.
4. Appoint competent employees to assist in the above measures.
5. Establish procedures to be followed by employees if situations ever arise that could present serious or imminent danger.
6. Provide relevant information on health and safety in an understandable guide.
7. Ensure employees are given adequate health and safety training.
It Requires the Employees to…
1. Report any shortcomings in health and safety arrangements, including dangerous situations.
2. Use equipment in accordance with training and instruction they have been given.
3. Take reasonable care of their own health and safety and those around them that may be affected by their actions.
Stress in the Workplace
The MHSWR covers stress in the workplace by placing a duty on all employers to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees, and this includes their wellbeing, which stress falls under. Employers must ensure that there are proper control measures in place to avoid these risks whenever they can. Where it is not possible to avoid risk, steps must be taken to reduce them to keep employees safer, and happier in their workplace.