Work Equipment: Employer's Main General Duties
The employer may need to do more than is required by the Particular General Duties and Specific Rules in order to comply with his main general duties which are:
- to ensure, so far as is reasonably, practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of his employees;
- to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons NOT in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.
Towards the end of 1997, motorway police reported there was a growing number of incidents of sales representatives driving at speed whilst steering with their knees because a mobile phone was being used in one hand and orders were being written down with the other. Mere compliance with The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992 will not enable employers to manage the serious risks to the offenders and the public of such work practice. Moreover, the employer's fulfilment of his particular general duties would at best provide weak controls over the risks. To manage the risks more effectively, employers would need to address solutions from the basis of his main general duties rather than the narrower basis of any particular general duty.