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The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) recently cited a study which estimated that workplace ill health is costing the Northern Ireland economy over £238 million each year. Manufacturing businesses have potentially greater exposure to risk and therefore should regularly review their practices and health and safety policies to ensure legal compliance. This blog shall outline a number of practices which employers should be implementing within their business for best practice and to avoid the risk of criminal or civil litigation.
Health and safety legislation in Northern Ireland applies to all businesses, no matter how many employees they may have. Therefore, all business owners in Northern Ireland should be aware of their duties and responsibilities to comply with the applicable legislation. The Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 is the primary piece of legislation which sets out the main framework for employers to follow in order to ensure the safety of their employees within this jurisdiction.
The following are a number of practical options for employers to consider, which are especially pertinent to businesses operating within the manufacturing sector:
It is important for all businesses to be cognisant of the fact that non-compliance with health and safety legislation can lead to criminal prosecution. Recently a metal finishing company in Newtownabbey pleaded guilty during a criminal prosecution due to the death of an employee following a fork-lift accident in the workplace. The company was fined £120,000.00 as HSENI found that the incident had been avoidable.
Furthermore, your business could be exposed to civil action claims by employees if your company does not adhere to health and safety legislation. It is vital to ensure that you have concrete workplace procedures and policies in place to protect your employees from the risk of injury and to best protect your business from the risk of litigation.
If you require any assistance developing your business’ occupational health and safety policies or require any further advice in respect of health and safety legislation compliance, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Employment team.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor.