Health and safety legislation aims to secure the health, safety and welfare of people at work. The Health & Safety Inspectorate (HSI) is the independent regulator of workplace health and safety in Jersey. The HSI is responsible for the investigation of breaches of health and safety legislation. Where necessary, it will refer the results of its investigations to the Attorney General, who will consider whether or not to bring a formal prosecution.
Health and safety legislation imposes duties on those who operate in the workplace (employers and employees, obviously, but also on self-employed contractors, manufacturers of certain items and those having control of certain work premises). The two principles which underpin health and safety legislation are:
1. Those that create risks should have the responsibility to manage them; and
2. Action taken to control risk should be proportionate to those risks that need to be managed.
Focus on Construction
The HSI is clear that its focus is on those workplaces that include activities of the most serious risk. This means (in reality) that the HSI is primarily focused on construction-related work. The HSI undertook 264 proactive inspections in 2019 – 85% of those were related to construction.
In terms of investigations, the HSI undertook 68 investigations into serious work-related accidents and incidents. Interestingly, investigations were conducted across a broad cross-section of industries, including retail hospitality, healthcare and education, as well as construction. The majority of these investigations included serious personal injuries and the vast majority were commenced following a notification from the Emergency Services Control Room.
It is, however, clear that it is in the construction industry where the risk of serious injury is highest: 21% of Short Term Incapacity Allowance claims were in construction – within the wholesale and retail and motor vehicle repair industries it was 12%, public administration, defence and social security also accounted for 12%, with the hospitality industry accounting for 10% of STIA claims. This is why the focus of proactive inspections is very firmly fixed on the construction industry.
Options open to HSI
Where the HSI finds breaches of obligations under health and safety legislation there are a number of courses of action available to it. These include the giving of verbal advice, formal advice, Enforcement Notices and, in the most serious cases, recommending a prosecution to the Attorney General. In 2019 seven cases were successfully prosecuted before the Royal Court. The defendants in those cases were sentenced to pay fines ranging between £15,000 and £60,000, as well as payment of a contribution towards the costs of the prosecution, ranging between £2,000 and £5,000.
Accidents and Injuries
The top 4 causes of workplace accidents were:
- Overexertion 31%
- Stepping on or being struck by objects 31%
- Slips, trips and falls on the level 11%
- Falls from height 9%
The most common injuries resulting from an accident were:
- Sprains and strains 47%
- Lacerations and open wounds 17%
- Fractures 13%
- Concussion and other internal injuries 13%
BCR Law has a highly experienced team on hand to provide advice as to health and safety policies and procedures across all local industries, as well as to assist companies and individuals throughout the course of an HSI investigation and (if necessary) prosecution in the unfortunate event of a serious incident. For more information, please contact Adam Harrison or Ben Atkins.