The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 as amended provides that employers must

  • Do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure the safety, health and welfare of their workers
  • Manage and conduct work activities (including behaviors at work) so as to avoid a risk to their workers
  • Plan and maintain a safe system of work
  • Plan and maintain a safe workplace including all equipment
  • Prevent known risks
  • Provide personal protective equipment where it is needed
  • Provide training in the relevant language

This means that employers must do everything that is possible to prevent injury to workers, unless it is a grossly disproportionate burden.

The Health and Safety authority is responsible for enforcement of workplace health and safety, and has wide-ranging powers including the power to

  • Search business premises and seize evidence
  • Issue an on the spot fine for e1000
  • Serve an improvement notice
  • Serve a prohibition (closure) notice
  • Publish a list of persons in default
  • A prosecution by the HSA can result in a summary fine of up to 3000 euro and/or 6 months in prison or on indictment a fine of up to 3million euro and/or 2 years imprisonment.

Failure to comply with Health and Safety legislation can also lead to civil liability as employees can take personal injuries claims including stress or bullying claims.

It is vital for every business to conduct a health and safety audit at regular intervals, and to ensure they have robust Health and Safety Policy and Procedures.

This article is for information purposes only, and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice. Fitzsimons Redmond will be happy to tailor advice to suit the needs of your organisation, and work with you to develop policies and procedures appropriate to your business. You can contact us on 01 6763257.

By Lisa Quinn O’Flaherty

Solicitor at Fitzsimons Redmond