Health & Safety, Work Equipment: Particular General Duties

Work Equipment: Particular General Duties


Compliance with any specific rules relating to work equipment does NOT of itself mean that the employer has fulfilled his particular general duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act that relate to equipment. These particular general duties are set out below:

Plant That is Not Part of the Workplace

Provide plant (such as production lines, goods and passenger lifts, moveable shelving, electricity generators and other installations) that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health as regards his employees.

Maintain such plant so that it remains, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health as regards his employees;

Where the employer makes his premises available as a workplace for non-employees (eg. allows on-site maintenance of equipment by a contractor's staff, or rents out an office or workshop to another firm), or as a place where non-employees may use plant or substances provided for their use (eg. a school's pupils, or a launderette's customers), the employer must take such measures as it is reasonable for a person in his position to take to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that any plant in the premises or provided for use there is safe and without risks to health as regards non-employees;

Systems of Work in Connection with Work Equipment

Provide systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health as regards his employees;

Maintain such systems of work so that they remain, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health as regards his employees;

Have arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and the absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles;

Information About Risks Related to Work Equipment

Provide such information as may be necessary to employees or to any other person as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;

Instructions on Avoiding Risks Related to Work Equipment

Provide such instruction as may be necessary to employees or to any other person as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;

Training to Avoid Risks Related to Work Equipment

Provide such training as may be necessary to employees or to any other person as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;

Supervision to Risks Related to Work Equipment

Provide such supervision as may be necessary to employees or to any other person as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;

Maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, any place of work under the employer's control in a condition that is safe and without risks to health as regards his employees;

Provide a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.

Comply with these particular general duties it may be necessary to do more than is required by specific rules. It is necessary to do more if the cost, time and effort of doing more is justified for achieving a greater reduction of a risk than can be achieved by merely complying with specific rules.

Example:

The employer has no duties under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992 as regards employees' privately owned cars used in carrying out their work. Insofar as defects in any such equipment could pose dangers to the workforce, the employer should look to his general duties as regards articles, place of work and working environment to assess risks and decide on how to manage the risks.

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