OHSAS 18001:2007 clause 4.3.2 states that the organization shall establish, implement and maintain a procedure(s) for identifying and accessing the legal and other OH&S requirements that are applicable to it.
Even if not considering 18001 certification , it is still necessary for every organisation to comply fully with all relevant health and safety legislation and the penalties for not doing so can be severe. The only real solution is to have a procedure in place that ensures compliance with legislation is being managed effectively.
The acid test
Can the following three questions can be answered positively.
- Do you have a comprehensive and up-to-date list of the legislation that applies to your organisation?
- Have you identified all the requirements imposed by all relevant items of legislation?
- Are you systematically measuring the extent to which your organisation is complying with relevant legislation?
How are you sure?
Ask yourself the following three questions:
Do you have a comprehensive and up-to-date list of the legislation that applies to your organisation?
It is easy to obtain a list of legislation that is enforced by the HSE – it is freely available on their website. However, there is a whole lot of legislation that falls within the health and safety remit that is not enforced by the HSE. For example, the need for an ‘accident book’. This is not health and safety legislation at all, it is social security legislation and is there for the purposes of sick pay.
Other examples of legislation that are usually dealt with by health and safety professionals, despite not being enforced by the HSE include:
- Consumer protection legislation.
- Public health legislation.
- Terms and conditions of employment legislation.
The amount of legislation enacted is increasing; in 2008, there were 1666 Statutory Instruments, in 2009 there were 2008, and in 2010 there were 2971 etc. Does your organisation have a robust procedure for identifying all relevant legislation?
Have you identified all the requirements imposed by all relevant items of legislation?
Whilst a list of legislation is available to download, free, from the legislation.gov.uk website, this website admits that it does not keep Statutory Instruments up-to-date with all the amendments.
You could use the HSE’s published guidance on the legislation since this guidance includes the amendments. There are three problems with this.
- The HSE does not produce guidance on all of the items of legislation it enforces.
- The HSE does not automatically produce revised guidance when legislation is amended.
- The HSE guidance has occasional errors. For example, the guidance on the First Aid Regulations (published in 2009) does not contain an amendment made by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations in 2002).
Are you systematically measuring the extent to which your organisation is complying with relevant legislation?
Once you have the relevant legislation and have identified what the requirements are for your organisation then you need to assess your level of compliance to that legislation and then regularly review your compliance. This is normally achieved by some type of formal inspection. Such inspections enable you to identify areas for improvement and measure your effectiveness.
Gathering the information is one thing but then analysing it correctly and producing meaningful reports is another!
If you cannot answer these questions positively with absolute certainty, we can help. Hastam offers three services that provide a comprehensive solution to these issues at a modest annual cost, detailed below.
1. Legal Register Service
On the basis of a discussion and site visit we can agree with you which legislation is relevant and prepare for you an electronic copy of all the titles of all the relevant legislation and a summary of the key requirements of all the legislation on the list. This is your Legal Register.
As legislation changes, subscribers to the Legal Register Service are sent details of required changes to their Legal Register.
Hastam will also complete an annual review of your Legal Register so we can identify lost or corrupted information.
2. Pro-Evaluate Legal Compliance Software
To enable you to put in place a robust auditing regime to demonstrate compliance and identify improvement actions Hastam provides a software Audit Tool, together with training and guidance for its effective use.
The software is known as Pro-Evaluate, which is easy and straightforward to use.
The Audit Tool is a Legal Compliance Module question set, aligned to your legal register. We update it at the same time as your Legal Register.
There is an annual review as for the Legal Register.
3. External Audit of Legal Compliance
Hastam can also provide an external audit of compliance. This service provides you with both an external assessment of your degree of compliance and an assessment of the accuracy of your internal measurement of compliance. The cost of the audit is dependent on the extent of exercise you require.
For more details as to how Hastam could assist your organisation address your H&S legal compliance challenges contact Liz Shuttleworth using our contact request form.
[Please note that the products listed here are designed for England, Wales and Scotland. If you are operating in Northern Ireland different legislation will apply and some development work would be needed. We also have direct experience of systems in other EU countries so may be able to help if you have operations outside the UK.]