Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999

The first management regulations came into force on 1 January, 1993.

They were revised and finally fully updated into the 1999 regulations.

They expand upon the general duties within the Health and Safety at Work Act for employers to manage health and safety. 

Regulations 1 and 2 cover the introduction to the regulations, certain definitions and that the regulations do not apply to seagoing ships. 

Regulation 3 is one of the most important - as it is requires general assessment of all risks to health arising from work. The important thing to bear in mind is that the aim of the assessment is to establish an effective system of 'preventive and protective measures' to safeguard employees. Risk assessments must take special account of any particular risks to young people. 

Regulation 4 sets a clear hierarchy of preventive and protective measures - avoiding the risk all together is preferred, whilst personal protective measures come well towards the bottom of the list. 

Regulation 5 requires employers to make arrangements to cover the 'effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review' of health and safety. Where there are five or more employees, the employer must record these details in writing. This could form part of the Safety Policy document required by the Health & Safety at Work Act.

Regulation 6 covers health surveillance. Where the risk assessment shows that:

  • there is an identifiable disease or adverse health condition related to the work being done
  • valid techniques are available to detect indications of the disease or condition
  • there is a reasonable likelihood that the disease or condition may occur in the particular conditions of work
  • surveillance is likely to further the protection of the employees health
  • employers are required to instigate a suitable regime of health surveillance. The main aim should be to detect early indications of the disease or condition so as to prevent further harm to the worker.

Regulation 7 requires employers to appoint 'one or more competent persons' to assist in meeting the legal requirements of safety law. These people to not have to be employees - the necessary help can be obtained through consultants - but preference should be given to internal persons. 

It is important to bear in mind that the legal duty to safeguard the safety and health of workers lies with the employer and cannot be passed on to an outside consultant. 

There is no absolute definition of 'competent' - though the guidance accompanying the regulations does make several points to bear in mind:

  • competence does not necessarily depend on the possession of particular skills or qualifications
  • simple situations may only require understanding of relevant current best practice, awareness of one's own limitations and a willingness and ability to supplement existing experience and knowledge
  • more complex or highly technical situations will call for specific applied knowledge and skills.

Regulation 8 relates to serious and imminent danger at work. Employers are required to establish appropriate procedures, nominate sufficient people to implement them and ensure that untrained staff are not allowed access to dangerous areas. 

At its simplest, this may only require adequate procedures for fire and, possibly, bomb threats. However, the risk assessment should identify any other situations that may arise requiring employees to evacuate all or part of the workplace. Such procedures will normally need to be recorded in writing (under regulation 5) and brought to the attention of the employees ( under regulation 9, below). 

Regulation 9 requires employers to make any necessary contacts with external services, including procedures for employees to follow in securing assistance from police, fire and other emergency services.

Regulation 10 requires employers to provide their employees with 'comprehensible and relevant information' on:

  • the risks to their health & safety identified in the risk assessment
  • the preventative and protective measures
  • the procedures for serious and imminent danger
  • the people appointed to take charge for such procedures
  • any risks notified to him by other employers occupying the same premises

Before employing a child (someone under school leaving age) the employer is required to provide this information to the child's parents or guardian. 

Regulation 11 concerns the sharing of workplaces between two or more employers, including on a temporary basis. In such circumstances each employer must co-operate with the other(s), co-ordinate their approach to health and safety as far as possible and inform each other of relevant risks to the others employees.

This will apply especially where a contractor is coming onto site to carry out maintenance or other works in another employers premises. It also applies to those common parts of multi-occupancy buildings. 

Regulation 12 is similar to regulation 11 - and applies to employees of another employer working within their premises, e.g. temporary agency staff. It would also apply to staff from Customs or the Inland Revenue, for example, who visit another employers premises to undertake audit or other duties. 

The host employer must provide such workers with instructions and information on the possible risks to health and on what to do in an emergency situation. The employer of the visiting workers must also provide the host employer with any relevant information on risks that might be created by the visiting employees.

Regulation 13 requires employers to take employees capabilities into account when allocating duties, to ensure that the demands of a job do not exceed an employees ability to do that job safely. Employers are also required to provide adequate health and safety training to employees:

  • on recruitment
  • whenever the risks to which they are exposed change, whether because of a transfer to new duties, through the introduction of new equipment or working practices or new technology.

Such training should be periodically repeated and must be carried out during working hours.

Regulation 14 expands on the general duties on employees contained within the Health & Safety at Work Act.

Employees are required to use items provided by the employer (including both machinery and safety equipment) in accordance with the training and instructions that the employer provides (under the requirements of regulations 10 and 13).

In addition, employees are required to notify employers of any serious hazards that they may encounter. Where appointed safety representatives exist, employees can report such matters to them, to discharge their duty under this regulation. 

Regulation 15 provides that workers on fixed term contracts and employees of Employment Businesses must be provided with suitable information and, if appropriate, health surveillance. This duty overlaps with some of the others mentioned above. 

Regulations 16 - 18 deal with new and expectant mothers. Employers have to include the assessment of risks to such persons within their main Regulation 3 risk assessment where their workforce includes 'women of child-bearing age' (this is not defined in the regulations and so is likely to be a matter of fact rather than legal definition).

New and expectant mothers have to provide written notification to their employer, to enable the employer to activate any additional preventive or protective measures deemed necessary under the risk assessment. There are particular procedures in relation to night work by pregnant workers and for work situations where hazards or risks cannot be otherwise avoided related to medical suspension on full pay and conditions. 

Regulation 19 affords additional protections to young people - including prohibiting certain types of employment and exposure to certain chemical or physical agents.

Updated 26 Jan 2017

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