Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

UK employers are aware that they need to comply with local health and safety laws and legislation. Some key legislation is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

In this article, we will first explain the difference between these health and safety acts and regulations. 

Then, we’ll dive deeper into how the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 affects employers, self-employed persons, employees, and temporary workers in the UK.

The Difference between an Act and a Regulation

An Act establishes the law, whereas a regulation is the implementation of an Act. A regulation must be in accordance with the law it upholds and must not contradict it.

In the UK, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is a law that requires employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. 

This act outlines the general responsibilities employers have to create a safe working environment for their employees and members of the public. The act also states employees’ health and safety duties to themselves and each other.

The regulation that makes the Health and Safety Work Act more explicit is the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This regulation outlines the specific duties that employers and employees need to fulfil the objective of the act. 

It’s important to note that all duties required under these acts and regulations need to be adhered to “so far as is reasonably practicable”.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 detail the duties of employers, supervisors, employees, agents of the employer, or self-employed persons. There are 30 provisions in place under this regulation.

In this article, we will summarise the key provisions that cover:

  • Risk assessment and other duties of employers and self-employed persons
  • High-risk groups: Managing risks and protection
  • General health and safety duties of employers, managers, and supervisors
  • Employer’s duty to provide training
  • Employee rights
  • Duties of employees and temporary workers
  • Extension outside of Great Britain

Risk assessment and other duties of employers and self-employed persons 

  1. Assessing risks
    A risk assessment is a process of identifying and evaluating the risks that may affect the health and safety of personnel.

    Under provision 3 of this regulation, both employers and self-employed persons need to conduct risk assessments suitably and sufficiently regularly.

    Assessments include evaluating any potential injury, illness, property damage, environmental damage, loss of production and other losses to people and assets in the workplace.
  1. Preventive and protective measures
    The end goal of a risk assessment is to control or eliminate the potential hazards identified.

    Thus, provision #4 of this regulation states that employers and self-employed persons need to implement any preventive and protective measures after identifying any health and safety risks in the workplace.

  2. Qualifications of temporary workers
    According to provision 15, any employer or self-employed person who uses the services of temporary workers must ensure the temporary worker has the special occupational qualifications or skills to conduct the work safely.

    Employers or self-employed persons are also responsible for ensuring the temporary worker is aware of the risks involved with the work at hand. 

High-risk groups: Managing risks and protection

  1. Managing risks for new or expectant mothers
    Provisions 16 and 17 explicitly state that specific risk assessments should be conducted in respect to new or expectant mothers. This is to ensure that the work will not pose a risk to the health and safety of a pregnant mother or the baby she is carrying.

  2. Managing risks for young persons
    According to provision 3, when employers hire young persons under the age of 18 (who are not children), they need to conduct a risk assessment that considers their lack of experience.

  3. Managing risks for lone workers
    Specific risk assessments also need to be conducted for any particular type of worker that faces unique risks, such as lone workers. Specific templates, such as a lone worker risk assessment template, can help employers identify these unique risks.
Lone Worker Risk Assessment Template
  1. Protection of new or expectant mothers
    In provision 17, the regulation states that if a new or expectant mother works at night, the employer should suspend her from work if deemed necessary for her health and safety.

    Employers should also suspend any type of work for pregnant women if a registered medical practitioner has stated in a certificate that the work is harmful to her health and safety.

  2. Protection of young persons
    Under provision 19, employers are responsible for protecting young persons from any risks resulting from their lack of experience. Employers are also prohibited from employing a young person beyond the scope of their physical or psychological capacity.

General health & safety duties of managers, supervisors, or employers

  1. Risk assessment documentation
    Provision 5 states that employers with more than five employees are legally obligated to document the significant findings of risk assessments.

    Managers or supervisors in charge of conducting risk assessments need to keep a record of them either in physical form or in digital format.

  2. Health monitoring of employees and temporary workers
    Under provision 6, employers are responsible for appropriately monitoring their employees’ health according to the health risks identified in the risk assessment.

    For example, if an employee works with hazardous materials that could affect the lungs, they should have access to monitor their lung health regularly.

    Provision 15 further adds that anyone who employs a temporary worker is also obligated to provide health surveillance under any relevant statutory provisions.

  3. High-risk situations or areas
    Every employer needs to put in place proper procedures in high-risk situations or areas of the workplace, according to provision 8. Examples include evacuation procedures, fire response procedures, or earthquake procedures.

    The employer’s responsibility under provision 8 also includes appointing a sufficient number of competent managers or supervisors who can immediately initiate and monitor the procedures when danger strikes.

  4. Establishing contact and procedures with external parties
    In many situations, managers or supervisors need to establish contact with external parties to ensure the health and safety of employees. For example, using a lone worker alarm that utilises the services of an alarm response centre to monitor lone workers.

    Provision 9 states that employers, or the responsible managers or supervisors, need to make contact and procedures with the necessary external parties according to the risks involved.

Employer’s duty to provide training

  1. Health and safety training
    Having the right health and safety policies in place is the first step. 

    However, if employees do not know the safety procedures or how to follow them, these policies become redundant. This is where health and safety training comes in.

    Under provision 13, employer’s need to provide all workers with appropriate health and safety training:

    a) when they are recruited;
    b) when they need to start working with new work equipment or technology; or
    c) when a new system is implemented in the workplace.

    Training needs to be repeated periodically as appropriate. Employers also need to be aware of changing health and safety risks (through regular risk assessments) and adapt the training to consider any new hazards or risks. Finally, training must be conducted during working hours.

Employee rights

  1. Rights to information
    Provision 10 of this regulation states that employees have the right to know the occupational risks to their health and safety. They also have the right to know the safety measures put in place to mitigate these risks.

    If a child is employed, employers have the duty to provide this information to the child’s parent or a legal guardian responsible for the child.

Duties of employees and temporary workers

  1. Compliance
    Under provision 11, both employees and temporary workers need to take all reasonable steps to comply with the health and safety procedures set out by their managers, supervisors, or employers. This includes, when necessary, cooperating with other team members in a way that does not jeopardise anyone’s safety.

  2. Training
    Provision 14 obligates every employee to conduct their duties according to the health and safety training they received. This includes any work involving machinery, equipment, dangerous substances, transport equipment, means of production, or safety devices.

  3. Qualifications
    Under provision 15, a temporary worker is obligated to provide proof of the necessary qualifications that show they have the skills to conduct work safely.

Extension outside of Great Britain

Provision 23 states that this regulation shall apply to any employee or temporary worker working for their UK employer on premises outside of Great Britain. 

In this case, any person is regarded as “at work” throughout the time they are conducting duties for their employer or are present at the premises to conduct their work. 

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