Central to the health and safety regime is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (the ‘1974 Act’). Underpinning and complementing it are a number of Statutory Instruments which identify further duties and address specific areas of activity in relation to which risk arises.
Core duties for employers appear in sections 2 and 3 of the 1974 Act. Section 2 concerns the employer’s duty to its employees. Section 3 concerns the employer’s duty towards non-employees who may be affected by its undertaking. ‘Undertaking’ is the word used in the statute. Elsewhere in my Report I have used the word ‘activities’ to make the meaning clearer. Under s.33(1)(a), it is an offence to fail to discharge the duties in sections 2 and 3. SMG and Showsec were both employers and so were under these duties, which were relevant to the safety of event-goers.
By reason of s.33(1)(c) of the 1974 Act, it is an offence to contravene regulations within the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires an employer to conduct a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to health and safety both in relation to employees and in relation to non-employees arising out of, or in connection with, the conduct of its undertaking. Any employer who employs five or more people must record “the significant findings of the assessment”. I shall address the issue of SMG and Showsec’s risk assessment in Part 6.
Regulation 11 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 makes provision for workplaces shared by more than one employer, as was the case with SMG and Showsec at the Victoria Exchange Complex. Where two or more employers share a workplace, each employer is required to: co-operate with other employers in relation to health and safety duties; coordinate with other employers in relation to health and safety duties; and inform other employers of the risk to their employees’ health and safety arising out of its activity. The requirement is to take all reasonable steps. The connected concepts of co-operation, coordination and communication as between SMG and Showsec will be addressed in greater detail in Part 6.