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Health and Safety in the workplace - key considerations

Health and Safety in the workplace - key considerations

Date published on: 01/10/2019

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 places responsibility for health and safety on all Stakeholders in an Organisation. The Act sets out the main provisions for safeguarding and improving the safety, health and welfare of people at work:

  • Requirements for the control of safety and health at work.

  • The management, organisation and the systems of work required to accomplish those goals.

  • The responsibilities and roles of Employers, the Self-Employed, Employees and other stakeholders.

  • The enforcement procedures needed to ensure that all goals are met.


Employer Responsibilities:

According to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and associated regulations there are a number of responsibilities placed on Employers to ensure occupational health and safety on all stakeholders.

Every Employer shall ensure in so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of Employees.

The Employer’s duty extends in particular, to the following:

  • Managing and conducting work activities in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of Employees;

  • Managing and conducting work activities in such a way as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health or welfare at work of Employees at risk;

  • With regards to the place of work concerned, ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  1. the design, provision and maintenance of the place of work in a condition that is safe and without risk to health,

  2. the design, provision and maintenance of safe means of access to and egress from the place of work, and

  3. the design, provision and maintenance of plant and machinery or any other articles that are safe and without risk to health;

  • Ensuring, so far as it is reasonably practicable, the safety and the prevention of risk to health at work of Employees relating to the use of any article or substance or the exposure to noise, vibration or ionising or other radiations or any other physical agent;

  • Providing systems of work that are planned, organised, performed, maintained and revised as appropriate so as to be, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health;

  • Providing and maintaining facilities and arrangements for the welfare of Employees at work;

  • Providing the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health, and welfare at work of Employees;

  • Determining and implementing the safety, health and welfare measures necessary for the protection of the safety, health and welfare of Employees when identifying hazards and carrying out a risk assessment under section 19 of the Act or when preparing a safety statement under section 20 of the Act and ensuring that the measures take account of changing circumstances and the general principles of prevention specified in Schedule 3 of the Act;

  • Having regard to the general principles of prevention in Schedule 3 of the Act, where risks cannot be eliminated or adequately controlled or in such circumstances as may be prescribed, providing and maintaining such suitable protective clothing and equipment as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of Employees;

  • Preparing and revising, as appropriate, adequate plans and procedures to be followed and measures to be taken in the case of an emergency or serious and imminent danger;

  • Reporting accidents and dangerous occurrences, as may be prescribed, to the Authority or to a person prescribed under Section 33 of the Act, as appropriate, and;

  • Obtaining, where necessary, the services of a competent person (whether under a contract of employment or otherwise) for the purpose of ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of Employees.


Employee Responsibilities:

Employees ought to be attentive when it comes to health and safety. Accidents can occur in any workplace or Organisation. It is always best to prevent an accident happening in the first instance rather than trying to deal with the consequences after the fact.

All Employees should continuously be on the lookout for anything in the workplace which could potentially cause an accident. Employees should be aware of their colleague’s behaviour and the possible consequences, therefore if another Employee is behaving recklessly this should be brought to the attention of the Employer. 

All Employees must:

  • Observe relevant laws and protect their own safety and health, as well as the safety and health of anyone who may be impacted by any acts or omissions at work;

  • Ensure that they are not under the influence of any intoxicant to the point that they may be a hazard to themselves or others while at work;

  • Cooperate with their Employer in relation to safety, health and welfare at work;

  • Not engage in any inappropriate conduct that could endanger their own safety or health or that of others;

  • Participate in safety and health training offered by their Employer;

  • Make correct use of all equipment, tools, materials, etc. and of all Personal Protective Equipment provided for use while at work, and;

  • Report any defects in the place of work, equipment, etc. which may endanger safety and health in the workplace.


Key Considerations for Employers:

While the Act outlines clearly the obligations of an Employee in the workplace it is essential for the Employer to ensure their policies and procedures reflect these terms and any particular Health and Safety policies which may be relevant to their particular business or industry.

It is recommended that Organisations do an annual “checklist” on the health and safety within their workplace. For example:

  • Do you have a Health and Safety Policy in place? Is the in-house structure for its implementation sufficient, for example are the responsibilities of named persons clearly defined?

  • Does your Organisation have an up-to-date Safety Statement in place? Is the Safety Statement available to all Employees?

  • Does the Organisations Risk Assessments take into account all activities, equipment, persons and premises?

    • ‚ÄčAre they up-to-date?

    • Has any new equipment been purchased since the last Risk Assessment Audit?

  • Have workstation assessments been carried out for all DSE (Display Screen Equipment) users?

  • Have all Employees received Manual Handling Training?

    • ‚ÄčRemember that all Employees should receive manual handling training according to legislation.

  • How many formally trained First Aiders are within the Organisation?

    • There is a legal requirement to have qualified Occupational First Aiders on site while Employees are at work.

  • Does your Organisation hold appropriately stocked First Aid Boxes?

    • Are Employees aware of their locations?

  • Do your Employees use any hazardous substances and or chemicals?

  • Is PPE provided as required to all staff?

  • Is the Emergency Procedure clearly displayed throughout the premises? Are there sufficient emergency exits in place which are kept clear?

    • Are fire assembly points clearly identified and marked?

    • Are all Employees aware of the location of fire assembly points?

  • Is sufficient firefighting equipment available?

  • Is there emergency lighting in place?

  • Are regular Fire Drills carried out and recorded and are they efficient?

  • Is there a formal procedure in place for the investigation and reporting of accidents/incidents and near misses?


If you require any assistance with your Organisations health and safety requirements then please contact the team at Adare Human Resource Management – info@adarehrm.ie / 01 5613594 to discuss how we can assist you.