The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 came into force on 4 April 2016
The Act works to focus effort on what matters, based on business risk, control and size, with the key emphasis being everyone in the workplace being responsible for health and safety.
There is a duty imposed on employers to engage with employees on an ongoing basis on matters concerning health and safety such as:
- identifying hazards and assessing risks
- eliminating/minimising hazards and risks
- considering the adequacy of facilities
- any proposed changes to systems and procedures
For many businesses this will be facilitated through health and safety representatives and committees. All large businesses (regardless of risk) and small businesses with fewer than 20 employees in high risk sectors will be required to have a health and safety representative, only if an employee asks for one. One individual may represent all employees, or the workplace can be divided into separate workgroups, each with an individual representative. A health and safety committee must also be established on request of the representative or five or more employees.