UK: Health & Safety: UK Developments

Last Updated: 17 November 2004

WORK EQUPIMENT. On 11 June, in Hammond v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and Metropolitan Police Authority, the Court of Appeal determined whether equipment belonging to a third party which an employee was working on at the request of his employer, was covered by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992.

A mechanic, employed by the Commissioner, was asked to repair a van that belonged to the Authority. He was injured when a bolt sheared off the van as he was working on it, causing him to fall. He claimed damages against the Commissioner and the Authority under Regulation 6 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992, which provides that every employer shall ensure that "work equipment" is maintained in an efficient state, efficient working order and good repair.

At trial, the judge held that the bolt was "work equipment" and found that the duty under Regulation 6 had been breached. The Court of Appeal disagreed, holding that the Regulations are concerned with what may loosely be regarded as tools of the trade provided by an employer to an employee to enable the employee to carry out his work. It does not apply to an object which the employee is working on that has been provided by others.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT. On 1 July, in Fytche v Wincanton Logistics Limited, the House of Lords considered the employer’s duty to provide adequate protective equipment for employees.

Wincanton Logistics had provided Mr Fytche, a lorry driver who collected milk from farms, with steel capped safety boots. Mr Fytche suffered mild frostbite when one of the boots sprang a leak.

Under Regulation 7(1) of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, an employer has a duty to ensure that personal protective equipment provided to employees is maintained in an efficient state, efficient working order and good repair.

The House of Lords held by a majority that Mr Fytche had been provided with the boots because his employer considered there to be a risk of heavy objects falling on his feet in the course of his work. The boots were therefore personal protective equipment. A risk that required him to have waterproof boots was not identified. Regulation 7 had to be construed in relation to what made the boots personal protective equipment, ie the toecap, not the waterproofing. There was no defect in the steel toecap.

FIRE SAFETY. On 10 May, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2004 was laid before Parliament. The Order reforms the law relating to fire safety in non-domestic premises. It aims to consolidate and rationalise existing laws and reduce burdens on business that are caused by the existence of multiple, overlapping general fire safety regimes, and the consequent overlap of responsibilities of enforcing authorities.

It replaces fire certification under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 with a general duty to ensure, so far as it is reasonably practicable, the safety of employees, a general duty in relation to non employees to take such fire precautions as may be reasonably required in the circumstances to ensure that premises are safe, and a duty to carry out a risk assessment. The Order imposes a number of specific duties in relation to the fire precautions to be taken. The Order provides for the enforcement of the Order, appeals, offences and connected matters. It also amends or repeals other primary legislation concerning fire safety to take account of the new regime.

The Order applies to all non-domestic premises, subject to certain exceptions. The main duty holder is the "responsible person" in relation to the premises. This term is defined. The duties on the responsible person are extended to any person who has, to any extent, control of the premises to the extent of their control.

COMAH. On 12 July, the Health and Safety Commission ("HSC") commenced a consultation on its proposals to implement Directive 2003/105/EC. This amends the scope of Directive 96/82/EC (the "Seveso II Directive") which is implemented in the UK by the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 1999.

The Directive takes into account recent industrial accidents and the results of research on carcinogens and substances dangerous to the environment carried out on behalf of the HSC. The key features of the Directive, and the proposed new regulations, are: a broadening of scope with respect to mining/quarrying; a redefinition of ammonium nitrate with new classes and qualifying quantities; new thresholds for potassium nitrate; additional named carcinogens and new threshold limits for all carcinogens; a new definition of petroleum products, with lower thresholds; the redefinition of the classes for explosives; lower qualifying thresholds for substances dangerous to the environment; a change to the aggregation rule to determine the application of the regulations; and administrative provisions for establishments covered for the first time. Consultation responses are required by 1 October.

ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION. On 8 July, the HSE published new Guidance on how to investigate accidents and incidents, including near misses.

The Guidance, entitled "Investigating accidents and incidents – a workbook for employers, unions, safety representatives and safety professionals", is intended as a first step in introducing organisations to the benefits of carrying out investigations and the methods by which accidents should be recorded, investigated and the findings acted upon. The Guidance is aimed primarily at small- to medium-sized enterprises where it is often difficult to build up an expertise in investigating, although larger organisations may also find it helpful.

HAND ARM VIBRATION. On 20 July, the Department of Work and Pensions announced an important change to the prescription of prescribed disease A11 (PD A11), commonly known as vibration white finger.

The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council conducted a review into hand arm vibration syndrome and recommended widening the terms of prescription of the disease to include severe sensorineural symptoms. Previously, only those with vascular symptoms (i.e. vibration white finger) were able to claim industrial injury disablement benefit.

ENFORCEMENT. On 29 July, the HSC published statistics on inspection and enforcement action in local authority enforced sectors for 2002/03.

There are no substantial changes in trends in inspection and enforcement by local authority inspectors. The statistics show a continued marginal decline in the number and rate of inspection visits and in enforcement activity. However there was an increase in inspector numbers. There was also evidence of increased priority being given to visiting wholesale premises and residential homes, where the risks of both fatal and non-fatal injury are high.

ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS. On 29 April, Directive 2004/40/EC on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) came into force.

The Directive, which must be transposed into UK law by 30 April 2008, requires that exposure to electromagnetic fields ("EMFs") be eliminated or reduced to a minimum. Employers must carry out a risk assessment, and where this indicates that EMF exposure is above certain action values, the employer must devise and implement an action plan to prevent corresponding exposure limit values being exceeded.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.