Health and Safety Obligations
29 April 2015
Polyflor Ltd v Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974 obligates employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees in the workplace, ‘as far as is reasonably practicable’.
An employee of 20 years experience was asked to repair a conveyer belt system; a job he had been trained to undertake and was aware of how to do safely. During the repair, he pushed a spanner into the mechanism – something he later admitted was ‘unwise’. His action led to a broken arm and seven weeks off work.
Despite his obvious culpability, Polyflor were convicted of offences and fined £7,500 in addition to £34,000 in costs. They appealed the decision but the Court of Appeal refused to overturn the ruling. Despite the actions of the employee being the cause of the injury, the fact that the company had failed to ensure the equipment was turned off during the repair, and that the guards were removed during this time, meant that the company had failed to meet it’s obligations and were therefore liable.
This case highlights the importance of employers fulfilling their duties under the HSWA. Employers should carry out all reasonable practicable steps to avoid an accident in order to ensure that they satisfy their obligations. If you have any queries about how you could enhance your policies and practices in this respect, please feel free to contact us.
Martin Kaye have provided advice in some highly complex HR matters and they continue to provide our day to day HR advice through their "ALPHA" HR scheme. They offer a very commercial and pragmatic approach and we have always been impressed by the level of service. The members of staff are approachable and easy to deal with.
Eurofilms Extrusion Ltd
Martin Kaye have provided us with employment and HR advice for several years and we have been very pleased with the level of service and quality of advice provided. We have no hesitation in recommending the team to any organisation which wishes to manage its employment related enquiries.
D Wauchope, Company Secretary
McPhillips (Wellington) Ltd
As a large employer of cleaning personnel, we require expert and prompt employment related advice. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" service provides this in a clear and robust manner. We have been extremely impressed with the service and would thoroughly recommend them to any employer requiring expert HR & employment support.
J Conry, Chairman
It is important for us to create a close relationship with our advisors. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" HR service is excellent. It enables us to work closely with our lawyers particularly in the complex area of employment law.
Johnny Hobeika, Operations Manager
Sanita (UK) Ltd
ALPHA is an excellent, reliable, professional service which is an integrated part of our business that we could not do without. This service is part of our structure and provides staff and business with the professional HR Support it requires - Invaluable
Martin Kaye are rated
out of 5
based on 21 testimonials.