2010 saw new provisions in Jersey's Health and Safety Law
come into force, strengthening the island's health and safety
regulations for the benefit of both employers and employees.
People often make fun of ''elf and safety' and
it's true that requirements in the workplace have steadily
grown over the past 30 years. The underlying principle of health
and safety legislation is ensuring a safe working environment
– and surely no-one would argue with that.
Far from being onerous, the duties of everyone at work
– be they an employer, employee or an individual just
visiting a workplace, is to meet targets, "so far as is
reasonably practicable". That means a degree of judgment
or assessment of the risks associated with a work activity is
Earlier this year an amendment to the law was brought in, which
means that now employers of five or more people must produce a
Health and Safety policy statement, which encompasses their own
responsibilities, the risks they have identified and what
arrangements they have made to address them.
The employer must ensure all employees are made aware of the
Health and Safety policy statement, and any subsequent revisions,
and it must be in a language that the employees can fully
understand, which may not necessarily be English.
Of course what defines a 'safe working environment' will
be different in different organisations; the regulations address
particular hazards, such as electrical dangers, or address concerns
in specific sectors such as the construction industry. There may be
specialised guidance on the use of display equipment at work or the
transport of pressurised containers. A complete list of current
regulations and approved codes of practice are available at the
States of Jersey website: www.gov.je/hsi .
Failure to comply with an approved code of practice does not
automatically mean a person is liable to criminal or civil
prosecution, but approved codes of practice are admissible in court
as evidence of best practice.
The States of Jersey's Health and Safety Inspectorate may
attend a workplace to investigate a potential breach of the Health
and Safety Law, which could involve the employer being interviewed
where it may be appropriate to have a legal representative
Depending on the seriousness of the situation, the Inspectorate
can make an informal recommendation, issue administrative notices,
issue improvement or prohibition notices which requires action to
be taken or work to be stopped. The Inspectorate may report to the
Attorney General for a decision as to whether prosecution is
appropriate, which could result in an unlimited fine and/or up to 2
years' imprisonment for certain offences.
There is no legal requirement to keep a record of accidents at
work, but it is strongly recommended that one is kept. Recording
accidents in detail can help provide important evidence when
dealing with a potential civil claim, which can be brought up to
three years from the date of the accident. Copies of an Accident
Record Book are available free from the Health and Safety
Inspectorate, the Jersey Safety Council or the States Greffe
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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