The Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978
The Order imposes duties on employers to look after the health and safety of their employees and responsibilities on employees to comply with the measures put in place for their health and safety.
There are various regulations made under this Order concerned with health and safety at work including:
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (NI) 2000
- Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations (NI) 1993
- Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (NI) 1992
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (NI) 1999
- Manual Handling Operations Regulations (NI) 1992
- Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (NI) 1993.
The regulations require that employers carry out risk assessments and provide employees with information and training where necessary.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (NI) 2000 sets out more explicitly what organisations must do to comply with the Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order. The Health and Safety Executive in GB has published an approved Code of Practice for use with the regulations, (Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Approved Code of Practice) which has been approved for use in NI by the Health and Safety Executive (NI). It can be downloaded from http://www.hseni.gov.uk/resources/codes-of-practice.htm or purchased from http://www.hsebooks.com/Books. The Code has a special legal status – a court will take account of whether an organisation has followed the Code in prosecutions for breach of health and safety legislation, unless the organisation can prove that they complied with the law in some other way.
Records management considerations
Organisations should retain equipment maintenance records, records of assessments and training records etc for appropriate periods, as proof that they are complying with the law and maintaining the safety of their employees. Retention of these records will also assist organisations to appropriately defend against any legal action and comply with investigations carried out by the Health and Safety Executive NI and/or RQIA.