Term Paper, 2002
11 Pages, Grade: B-
Health and Safety in the working environment
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
The Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963
Occupational Safety and Health Act
Duties of employers
Duties of employees
Special safety regulations
The hospitality industry that we focus on is an industry many people are involved in as employers as well as employees, and the work is very widespread, through many different requirements and departments in a hotel for example. Therefore there are lots of threats for the health and safety of people involved such as e.g. slippery floors, sharp or dangerous kitchen equipment or chemicals used for cleaning. In the sector of health and safety both civil law and criminal law are covered, the civil law to compensate losses of people suffering from accidents and the criminal law for creating and keeping certain standards of safety in the working environment through the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for example (United Kingdom).
The main purpose for establishing HSWA was to integrate already existing various Acts and to apply adequate standards to all industries. (Pannett, 1992, p. 335)
Considering hospitality industry, HSWA followed the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963. (Field, 1982, p. 186)
In general HSWA provides all industries with general rules connected to employee safety at work. The idea of HSWA is to prevent injuries and accidents by providing employers with advices and ensure that the required standards of safety are fulfilled.
Health and Safety Commission main task is to assist the law by protecting employees in the way of health, safety and welfare. Their duty is also to protect other persons that could be affected by the working activities of the employees. There is also a role of the Health and Safety Executive which duty is to apply Commission policy on the ground. The Executives may investigate all circumstances that caused accident to an employee at his workplace. Sometimes the local authorities in Environmental Health Departments could do it. (Boella & Pannett, 1999, p.344)
“The power of inspectors:
- To entry to premises at any reasonable time
- To make such examination and investigation of the premises as may be required
- To question any person who the inspector reasonably believes has such information as may assist the investigation
- To require the inspection of documents and machinery” (Boella & Pannett, 1999, p.344)
Further more, they can use “improvement notices” which gives the employer opportunity to improve or change working conditions (not less than 21 days) in order to secure the health, safety and welfare of people at work. Inspectors could use a “prohibition notice” if they think there is a risk of serious person or after the certain period that is given to the employer. (Field, 1982, p.187)
Of course, employers could make an appeal the industrial tribunals in 21 days.
Employers have to notify all “major injury”, accidents to the local Environmental Health Officer as soon as possible and submit full written report in seven days. There is no difference between death and “major injury” connected to employers, employees or other persons on the premises.
A “major injury” includes fractures, amputations, eye injuries and other injuries that require hospitalisation, for more than 24 hours. Actually, all dangerous occurrences should be reported and absences of employees for more than 72 hours, caused by minor injuries. (Field, 1982, p. 188)
That Act is mostly covering hospitality industry considering all kinds of employees such as employees in F&B activities, shop assistants and hairdressers in larger hotels, front desk personnel, administration and office workers and even employees in canteens. The purpose of the act is to provide all employees in the categories with minimum working conditions. (Field, 1982, p. 188)
Considering Health and welfare, conditions are:
Cleanliness – a prime consideration should be taken, regarding the food products and physical things such as floors, stairways, furniture, etc
Lighting – very important, windows should be clean all the time and employees should be provided with proper light conditions
Temperature – required temperature should be at minimum of 16 °C, heating equipment should be comfortable with no possibility for danger occurrences and air should circulate through the working areas
Sanitation and water – employees should be provided with drinking water, washing facilities and equipment and well maintained, clean toilettes separated regarding female and male employees.
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