Health and safety solicitors
Employers have a legal responsibility under UK law to protect the health and safety of their employees and other people who may be affected by their work - such as customers and members of the public.
If you feel you need specialist advice from a health and safety solicitor, call us and we can recommend a solicitor experienced in health and safety law to handle the case on your behalf.
The law on health and safety
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 sets out the general principles of UK law regarding health and safety. Other regulations also apply, some applying to all workplaces and others which are industry specific or applying only to certain types of workplaces, for example:
- The Approved Codes of Practice (ACoP)
- These are released from time to time to provide guidance
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for health and safety policy and its enforcement.
UK common law additionally imposes a duty of care on the employer to comply with those health and safety laws and regulations and to provide a safe place of work and working conditions for their employees so as to avoid injury. Health and safety solicitors can explain your legal requirements in relation to health and safety.
In the workplace
Employers have both statutory and common law duties of care to comply with health and safety law and to provide a safe workplace for their employees and prevent injury. Failure by an employer to comply with health and safety law is an offence and may lead to prosecution.
A health and safety solicitor can explain the requirements under the law and assess your workplace’s policies and procedures for compliance.
When an injury occurs in the workplace, an employer has a duty to report the incident under The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). These regulations require you to report:
- Accidents and diseases
- Near-miss incidents
- Dangerous occurrences
Reportable incidents are defined in the regulations. If there has been an incident which you think may require reporting, you should speak to a health and safety solicitor.
Policies and risk assessments
Every workplace should have a health and safety policy and appropriate processes and procedures in place. A solicitor can help with a health and safety policy which sets out the workplace’s approach and objectives in managing health and safety.
It should also set out specific procedures put in place to manage health and safety, including:
- Responsible persons
- Reporting procedures
It should also set out controls and methods for monitoring performance. Businesses with five or more employees must have a written health and safety policy. Health and safety solicitors can assess your workplace and help prepare a health and safety policy that will minimise risk in the workplace and reduce your legal liability accordingly.
Another important tool is a risk assessment. A risk assessment is a regular review of your workplace’s control of hazards. It assesses how well the workplace is performing and provides a basis for considering whether further controls need to be implemented or the health and safety policy altered.
The law does not expect employers to completely eliminate all risk, but it does require employers to protect employees and others as far as is ‘reasonably practicable’. Health and safety solicitors can examine the outcome of a risk assessment to assess whether your workplace is meeting its legal obligations.
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