SUPPORT SOLUTIONS UK
AUG 2022 – BRIEFING
THE MANAGEMENT OF HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK REGULATIONS 1999 – REGULATION 7
Here at Support Solutions UK we like to keep our clients up to date with industry updates. As leading advisors in our industry we like to ensure that our clients are compliant and understand the legislation that helps to regulate the industry.
Support Solutions UK understand certain pieces of legislation can be lengthy, ambiguous, and quite complex to understand. Therefore we have a team of legal professionals and health and safety professionals that work with us.
These professionals do the reading for us and use their expertise to summarise the legislation in terminology that is easier to understand. We then pass this information onto our clients.
Be assured that Support Solutions UK offer the best advice and guidance in order to make your organisation compliant.
This briefing looks at Regulation 7 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
The briefing aims to dissect what regulation 7 states, what this means for businesses and why this it is so important for businesses to be compliant.
You often you hear reports of companies being fined for failing to ensure the health and safety of their employees. Sometimes it is not always the entire fault of the employers, but the employee in question. Once health and safety regulations and policies are in place it is vital that these are implemented, followed, and kept up to date with any legislative changes.
The importance of having Legislation and Regulations in Business
Legislation is one of the most important instruments of government in organising society and protecting individuals. It determines amongst others the rights and responsibilities of individuals and authorities to whom the legislation applies.
Regulations are in place to protect and benefit people, businesses, and the environment to support economic growth and to promote health and safety in the workplace.
Regulations are a law, rule, or other order prescribed by authority and are put in place to regulate conduct. The act of regulating or the state of being regulated is extremely important.
We will now look at why ….
Breaking Legislation / Regulations – The Consequences
When businesses break legislation or are in breach of breaking regulations like The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 you will be prosecuted.
Breaching health and safety regulations is a criminal offence. Companies have a common law duty to ensure that the working environment is safe for employees. By not doing so, you can face consequences, including fines or imprisonment.
Initially, the HSE can only issue a notice of improvement or prohibition to an enterprise that’s breaching legislation, but consequences can become more dire. Breaches can incur fines of up to £20,000, while issues that endanger human lives can produce unlimited fines or imprisonment. If an employee is injured at a workplace where best practice wasn’t implemented, there’s also a chance they could claim against the business.
It also important to note that insurance premiums can increase significantly. If you have an accident or incident because of poor health and safety practices, there could be a claim against your insurance policy. Please note that insurances will not cover fines.
Industry Disqualification and Reputation Damage
Non-compliance of health and safety regulations can also hurt business reputation. Disqualification from the industry is a likely consequence, often leaving companies’ reputations in ruin. As it’s the employer’s legal responsibility to protect their employees, it’s often those at the top that are targeted when a health and safety incident occurs and prosecutions brought forward by the HSE in the UK have a 94% conviction success rate.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) names and shames employers guilty of criminal offences.
Regulation 7 – The Full legislation as written in the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Regulation 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that:
7.—(1) Every employer shall, subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions and by Part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997.
(2) Where an employer appoints persons in accordance with paragraph (1), he shall make arrangements for ensuring adequate co-operation between them.
(3) The employer shall ensure that the number of persons appointed under paragraph (1), the time available for them to fulfil their functions and the means at their disposal are adequate having regard to the size of his undertaking, the risks to which his employees are exposed and the distribution of those risks throughout the undertaking.
(4) The employer shall ensure that—
(a)any person appointed by him in accordance with paragraph (1) who is not in his employment—
(i)is informed of the factors known by him to affect, or suspected by him of affecting, the health and safety of any other person who may be affected by the conduct of his undertaking, and
(ii)has access to the information referred to in regulation 10; and
(b)any person appointed by him in accordance with paragraph (1) is given such information about any person working in his undertaking who is—
(i)employed by him under a fixed-term contract of employment, or
(ii)employed in an employment business,
as is necessary to enable that person properly to carry out the function specified in that paragraph.
(5) A person shall be regarded as competent for the purposes of paragraphs (1) and (8) where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to assist in undertaking the measures referred to in paragraph (1).
(6) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to a self-employed employer who is not in partnership with any other person where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities properly to undertake the measures referred to in that paragraph himself.
(7) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to individuals who are employers and who are together carrying on business in partnership where at least one of the individuals concerned has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities—
(a)properly to undertake the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions; and
(b)properly to assist his fellow partners in undertaking the measures they need to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon them by or under the relevant statutory provisions.
(8) Where there is a competent person in the employer’s employment, that person shall be appointed for the purposes of paragraph (1) in preference to a competent person not in his employment.
We will now take some time to Summarise Regulation 7 looking at its importance, who is deemed a competent person, what businesses / organisations need to have a competent person, the skills and knowledge needed to be a competent person and what to do if you don’t have a competent person ….
The importance of Regulation 7 to Organisations?
Regulation 7 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations is legislation about Health and Safety assistance. It looks at why your organisation needs a Competent Person for Health & Safety, who a competent person is and what measures that you should put in place if you don’t have a competent person.
Who is a deemed a Competent Person?
Regulation 7 of The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that “Every employer shall, subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), appoint one or more Competent Persons to assist him in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions and by Part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997”.
The legislation also goes on to say that a person shall be regarded as ‘competent’ if they have sufficient training, experience, or knowledge and ‘other qualities’.
This leaves a lot of ambiguity and questions unanswered which we will now look at.
Who needs a Competent Person?
The requirement to have a Competent Person applies to every single organisation. It doesn’t matter if you employ one person or a thousand. Quite simply there are no exceptions.
What Skills, Knowledge and Expertise does the Competent Person need?
To identify and appoint a Competent Person, Support Solutions UK in partnership with our Health and Safety specialists recommends that organisations implement the following questions:
- Has the identified individual had training?
Perhaps an IOSH accredited course.
- Does that person have practical knowledge?
In other words, just attending a theory course is not enough.
- Does the individual have the appropriate skills?
They need the technical ability to develop solutions to problems.
- Do they have practical experience?
You won’t get away with appointing a school leaver on their first day
- Are they familiar with Health & Safety practice?
They need to know the ins and outs of the way you function, who does what and be knowledgeable about the hazards?
- Do they have good awareness?
They need to be alert enough to recognise hazards.
- Have they been given authority?
They need to be able to immediately correct any hazards, or be able to influence
I now know the regulations but don’t have a Competent Person – What Now?
Support Solutions UK have now given you all of the information that you need to know about what Regulation 7 is and who is deemed a Competent person.
Like many organisations can we hear you say we don’t have anyone suitable for the role? Let us tell you – you’re not alone here.
So, is it OK to appoint someone who doesn’t work for your Organisation?
If you are not confident of your ability to manage all Health & Safety in-house, or if you are a higher-risk business, you may need some external help or advice. Employing a consultant to support your business can be a more cost-effective approach to achieving compliance.
If you really want to make sure you’ve got this covered, you need to tick all the boxes for training, experience, and knowledge, which amounts to having a Health & Safety professional on hand.
We have so much confidence in the quality of our Health & Safety services that SSUK in partnership with our Health and Safety experts can act as your Competent Person.
THANKS FOR READING.
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