Re: [SystemSafety] Proposed changes to the UK Health and Safety at Work Act

From: Heath Raftery < >
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 12:14:20 +1100


For what it's worth, the H&S laws in Australia have undergone a fairly major overhaul over the last year or so. As well as attempting to harmonise the framework across the states, there were some changes to the hierarchy of responsibility. Here's one summary:

"Moving away from the employment relationship as the basis of obligations to ensure all who are involved in work being done will have a duty of care no loop-holes or gaps"

One major new definition is a PCBU - "person conducting a buness or undertaking", which is used instead of an employer. That way, any PCBU involved in the conduct of work has a general duty of care, rather than just the employer.

There is greater emphasis on every person involved having a duty: workers and "others" (visitors, customers, passers-by, etc.) have to take reasonable care; and officers have a duty of due diligence.

Heath

On 13/01/2013 10:43 PM, Martin Lloyd wrote:
>
> Dear Colleagues
>
> I would like to draw your attention to the following:
>
> 1. The UK government is proposing to change the Health and Safety at
> Work Act.
> 2. The proposed change is summarised below from the following (rather
> under-supported) petition at
> http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/41086 which includes the wording:
>
> The amendment to Section 47 of the Health and Safety Work Act 1974, has
> been added to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill at the eleventh
> hour.The amendmentwould mean that:
>
> - Employers would no longer have a strict liability for the health and
> safety of their workers, for the first time since 1898.
>
> - Workers could not rely on an employer's breach of health and safety
> law to win a personal injury claim, they would have to provide proof of
> negligence.
>
> - Enforcement of health and safety law would be increasingly left up to
> a significantly weakened and less effective Health and Safety Executive.
>
> - Employers will increasingly hide behind the defence that complying to
> health and safety regulations was not "reasonably practicable".
>
> 3. It would be very helpful to state the implications of this amendment
> and its likely consequences so that a reasoned case against it could be
> constructed.
>
> 4. It would be helpful to know how thecurrent state of UK Health and
> Safety Law compares with other countries at the moment, and also how far
> the proposed amendment would set the UK behind others in terms of its
> levels of protection for workers.
>

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