Health and safety in the workplace

In Ireland, there are many pieces of legislation that govern health and safety in the workplace. Some of them are general, applying across all sorts of workplaces. Others are very specific, applying to specific industries or types of work.

One of the broader pieces of legislation governing health and safety in the workplace is the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005). Other laws with general application include the Organisation of Working Time Act (1997) and the Safety in Industry Act (1980).

Some of the more specific pieces of legislation governing health and safety in the workplace include: the Chemicals Acts (2008 and 2010); the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Act 1998; the Dangerous Substances Act (1979 and 1972); the Factories Act (1955); the Mines and Quarries Act (1965); and the Boiler Explosions Act (1890 and 1882). As you can see, these apply to specific situations and are regulated more closely.

Businesses should be aware of both the general laws applicable to them and the industry-specific laws. Employers should also ensure that their employees are educated about the provisions of these laws as they are relevant to them. Non-compliance with the health and safety laws in Ireland can result in serious penalties. However, the more important consideration is the injury and damage to health and the environment that can occur.

Reporting accidents

When accidents occur, the Health and Safety Authority should be contacted. The Health and Safety Authority is Ireland’s national statutory body responsible for enforcing occupational safety and health law. It not only has a role providing information and assistance to employers, businesses and workers, but also an enforcement role where legal action is required when employers and businesses fail to meet their requirements under the law.

For advice on how Ireland’s health and safety laws affect you or your business, you should seek legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer. An employment lawyer can ensure that your employee policies in the workplace are compliant with the health and safety laws.

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