Recently, I delivered a lecture on health and safety legislation
organised by Business Leaders Academy. Health and safety
legislation can be a minefield for employers. The Occupational
Health and Safety Authority Act and the Regulations issued under it
(around 30 in number) regulate issues varying from compulsory
eye-sight checks for workers to the number of sanitary conveniences
which need to be present at the workplace. The law imposes a wide
range of obligations on the employer to ensure at all times the
health and safety not only of workers, but also that of other
persons who may be affected by the work being carried out. Apart
from requiring employers to abide by general principles of
prevention, the law also imposes specific obligations which can be
general in nature, such as that of notification of serious
accidents, or obligations specific to the nature of the work.
Breaches of health and safety legislation can lead to serious
legal consequences for the employer. These can range from
compensation being awarded to injured workers in civil proceedings
but also criminal consequences in proceedings instituted by the
Health and Safety Authority, which potentially could result in
hefty fines and imprisonment.
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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