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Health and safety at work - Case Study Example

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Health and safety at work

Some of the employments by nature are hazardous and both the employer and the employee should be aware of the dangers involved in such employments. Definitely there are inherent risks of the employment and they vary in degrees depending on the kind of work, material used, mode of work and ultimate work achievement. If we go through some of the cases over the years, it is easy to find how difficult it is to avoid danger in certain jobs. Cases like Thomas v Quartermaine (1887), Smith v Baker & Sohs (1891), Paris v Stepney Borough Council (1951), General Cleaning Contractors Ltd. V. Christmas (1953), Ellis v. Ocean S.S. Co. Ltd (1958) show us the varied dangers that are inherent in different employments. But according to the modern law the employer is responsible for a duty of care towards his employees and the weight squarely rests in him.
"Under the general law of tort, a duty of care arises when two persons are so closely and directly related that the activities of them may involve appreciable risk of injury to the other: Donoghue v. Stevenson [1932]" Munkman (1975, p.82).
The Health and Safety Act is a landmark in the history of labour and employment, because it provides maximum safety and care to the workers and this is one act where the employer's responsibility is of major gravity in looking after the health and safety of his employees.

"The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974) is the most important statute for industry and commerce ever to have been passed through Parliament. Unlike the Industrial Relations Act, this one is here to stay. It affects companies, firms and individuals, employers, from Boardroom to shop floor; manufacturers, designers, importers, suppliersoccupiers, builders, erectors, installers," Mitchell (1976, p.xv).

The employer, under the legal compulsion, must make all the attempts and take reasonable care not to expose his employees to any kind of avoidable and unnecessary risk. This responsibility is a personal responsibility and cannot be transferred to othersi. In Peter's case ABC cannot be held responsible to a very large extent, because they have provided all kinds of protective necessary clothing and mask. Safeguarding the health and safety of the employees is the duty and responsibility of the employer and ABC has done so. So, if the position of ABC is assessed from that angle, they cannot be held responsible for Peter's accident. All the injuries that occur during the work are not due to employer fault. Some of them could be because of the carelessness and easygoing habits of the employees like Peter.

Still there is a possibility of a court ruling that it is vicarious responsibility of the employer because the employer is responsible for providing a safe workplace for his employee to work. It was not safe enough for Peter, because the chemical was insufficiently diluted by another employee causing grievous damage to Peter. ABC will have to answer for the insufficient dilution of the chemical by another employee. There is no doubt that Peter was at mistake because he did not wear the mask that has been provided for his safety by the ABC. Unfortunately for him, he thought, as his manager did, that the risk involved was very small. The risk involved w ...Show more


Unlike in olden and medieval days, every kind of employment including agriculture and small industries, cottage industries etc. come under the protective arms of industrial, labour, employment acts and today, dismissal, reprimanding and discriminations are guarded by the Courts of Law and rightly so…
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Health and safety at work essay example
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