The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 is the governing legislation relating to health and safety in the workplace.
Under the Act, every organisation (including charities and not for profit organisation) is required to protect their employees from accident or ill health at work. At all times, employers should seek to ensure that their equipment and systems do not constitute a risk to the health and safety of the employees and they should regularly consult with all staff on this issue.
Here are 4 key steps in minimising of legal risks:
Risk assessment is the cornerstone of a comprehensive and legally compliant safety management system. Fundamental to current health and safety legislation is the carrying out of risk assessments by competent persons.
Each organisation should establish a procedure whereby it regularly reviews each of its activities and assesses any legal risks that activity raises. A practical risk reduction strategy relating to each incidence of the identified should then be implemented.
Section 19 of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires every employer to identify hazards in the workplace, assess the risk from these hazards and have a written risk assessment of the risks as they apply to persons exposed to them in the workplace.
Workplace risk assessments, along with the organisation’s safety statement, are absolute minimum requirements for legislative compliance for any company in Ireland today.
Each organisation should educate and train all members & staff as a part of its’ risk minimisation strategy. This should start with an induction in which each new member of staff should be required to participate in.
Each of the organisations members and staff, from board level down should be aware of potential risks and be knowledgeable in ways of preventing such risks from materialising. The responsibility of ensuring that all staff members know this lies on the board.
Each organisation should be able to act promptly to any suspicious activities or allegations of which they have become aware of. Being able to deal quickly and effectively is important in managing legal risks.