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Health and Safety

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 sets out the main provisions for securing and improving the safety, health and welfare of people at work. The law applies to all places of work regardless of how many workers are employed. The 2005 Act replaces the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989 and sets out:

  • The requirements for the control of safety and health at work.
  • The management, organisation and the systems of work necessary to achieve those goals.
  • The responsibilities and roles of employers, the self-employed, employees and others.
  • The enforcement procedures needed to ensure that the goals are met.

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 2007 also place specific requirements on both employers and employees and a link to the available guidance documents relating to this legislation is given at the bottom of this page.

Employer Duties

Employers (including self-employed persons) are primarily responsible for creating and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. An employer’s duties include:

  • Μanaging and conducting all work activities so as to ensure the safety, health and welfare of people at work.
  • Designing, providing and maintaining a safe place of work that has safe access and egress, and uses plant and equipment that is safe and without risk to health.
  • Providing information, instruction, training and supervision regarding safety and health to employees.
  • Providing and maintaining welfare facilities for employees at the workplace.
  • Preventing risks to other people at the place of work including, for example, visitors, customers, suppliers and sales representatives.
  • The employer should tell employees about any risks that require the wearing of protective equipment. The employer should provide protective equipment (such as protective clothing, headgear, footwear, eyewear, gloves) together with training on how to use it, where necessary. This should be provided to the employee free of charge if it is intended for workplace use only.

Employee Duties

Employees, including those employed on a part-time or temporary basis, also have duties including:

  • Comply with relevant laws and protect their own safety and health, as well as the safety and health of anyone who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work. An employee is under a duty to take reasonable care for his/her own safety and to use any protective equipment supplied.
  • Ensure that they are not under the influence of any intoxicant to the extent that they could be a danger to themselves or others while at work.
  • Cooperate with their employer with regard to safety, health and welfare at work.
  • Participate in safety and health training offered by their employer.
  • Not engage in any improper conduct that could endanger their safety or health or that of anyone else.

More information is available for small businesses on health and safety in the following link on the Health and Safety Authority’s website, here.

Further information

BeSMART.ie - Business electronic Safety Management And Risk assessment Tool

Health and Safety at work- citizens information

General Application Regulations 2007 Publications

Further information on Personal Protective Equipment

A Short Guide to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 pdf