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Health and Safety in The Workplace

Within Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority is the national body responsible for workplace health and safety.  It is their role to monitor employer’s compliance with health and safety legislation, and where necessary, instigate enforcement proceedings.

From an employee’s perspective, workers naturally place trust in their employers to keep them safe while undertaking their roles.  Not only do employers have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of staff, but they also do so in order to guarantee business continuity and protect their reputation.

If you have been the victim of an accident at work, or you have specific concerns regarding the health and safety compliance of your employer, Lavelle Partners have a team of health and safety employment law and personal injury Solicitors who can provide expert legal guidance regarding your matter.

What are the main workplace health and safety laws in Ireland?

The primary legislation which underpins workplace health and safety is the Safety, Health and Welfare Act 2005.  Section 8 of this act states that employers have a duty to employees to prevent ill-health and injuries, by:

  • Providing and maintaining a safe workplace
  • Preventing risks from the use of any article or substance
  • Preventing risks from exposure to physical agents, noise and vibration
  • Preventing improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk
  • Providing health and safety training
  • Ensuring the provision of appropriate protective clothing and equipment

Employees also have duties to take reasonable care to protect their own health and safety and of others in the workplace.

Other workplace health and safety laws which apply include, the:

  • Chemicals Acts 2008 and 2010
  • Dangerous Substances Act 1979 and 1972
  • Factories Act 1955
  • Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
  • Safety in Industry Act 1980

In addition, there are other specific regulations which must be adhered to, for example in relation to construction and asbestos, and also a series of codes of practice for specific sectors, including the Farm Safety Code of Conduct and the Code of Practice for Working in Confined Spaces.

What is a workplace risk assessment?

Employers of all types and size must routinely undertake risk assessments across all aspects of their business, including car parks, offices, vehicles, premises, and warehouses.  For every health and safety risk they identify, they must implement control and mitigation measures to eliminate the danger, or if this is not possible, mitigate it as much as possible.

In order to control health and safety risks, employers have at their disposal a wide range of strategies including, creating policies and procedures to be followed across the business, staff training, providing protective equipment (e.g. eyewear and ear defenders), safety guards on machines, using clear signage to warn and remind staff of known risks, and rotating staff between roles to avoid over-use injuries such as vibration white finger or carpal tunnel syndrome.

While it is a considerable undertaking to manage health and safety risks across an organisation, it is nevertheless one private, and public entities are required to do by law.  As such, if you have been injured at work due to health and safety negligence by your employer, or if you have concerns they may be in breach of health and safety legislation, and putting employees at risk as a result, we can assist you with your matter, and explain your options to achieve the outcome you are seeking.

How Lavelle’s workplace health and safety Solicitors can assist you

  • Our team of health and safety Solicitors, headed by Senior Partner, Marc Fitzgibbon, have been assisting employees for over 30 years in relation to health and safety at work matters, and as a result, has developed a strong and enviable reputation nationally for achieving excellence in this area of law.
  • Marc is a former member of the Law Society of Ireland’s Employment & Equality Law Committee and the European Employment Lawyers Association.
  • Lavelle Partners have dedicated employment law and workplace personal injury teams who will collaborate where necessary to ensure your best interests are protected.
  • From the first moment you speak to one of our health and safety Lawyers, we will listen to your case carefully and with empathy. Furthermore, we understand that workplace health and safety matters often need to be managed with the utmost confidentiality.

Our partnership with Talbot Pierce

Lavelle Partners work with Talbot Pierce to provide a seamless service in respect of Human Resource Management.  Talbot Pierce are a team of specialist HR professionals who work with us on a range of matters including advice on and delivery of conflict/dispute resolution solutions, best-practice HR strategies, policies and procedures.

For further information on workplace health and safety law in Ireland, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800.

Please get in touch with one of our specialists