The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992

1.  Introduction

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW) consolidate previous regulations of the same name, together with previous regulations concerning new and expectant mothers at work, and previous regulations concerning young persons. However, there is very little change in substance which will affect departments/institutions/units.

The legislation is concerned with the management of risks within the University and advice on how to comply with the main requirements is as follows:

2.  General assessment of risks

(a)  The requirement to assess risks to health and safety within the University is the cornerstone of the legislation.  Assessment of all risks is not practicable, but departments/institutions/units are expected to have assessed all reasonably foreseeable significant risks and in particular, risks which are identified by any relevant specific health and safety regulations.  See in particular Policy Statement S6/14 Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 (COSHH); Policy Statement S2/99 Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998; Policy Statement S7/99 Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992; Policy Statement S8/09 Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992; and Policy Statement S5/08 Risk Assessment.

(b)  The MHSW Regulations specifically require that particular account must be taken of risks to new and expectant mothers when assessing risks in work activities.  Risk assessments for pregnant employees should be in writing.  Risks include those to the unborn child or child of a woman who is still breast-feeding, not just risks to the mother herself.

A “new or expectant mother” is an employee who is pregnant, who has given birth within the previous six months, or who is breast-feeding.  An employee is expected to notify her employer in writing that she falls into the definition, but there is no statutory obligation for her to do so.  Until such time as notification has been received, departments are not required to take action.

For further details see Appendix 1.

(c)  The Regulations require formal written risk assessments for young people.  For further details see Policy Statement S1/13 The Health and Safety of Young People and Children

(d)  The head of department/institution/unit is then responsible for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees, students, visitors and others under his control or who may be affected by the work activities of the department/institution/unit.

3.  Arrangements for health and safety

MHSW place a duty on the department/institution/unit to have proper arrangements for health and safety.  Suitable management arrangements are to be set out in departmental statements of safety organisation and include the need for:

(a)  planning – to identify priorities and set objectives;

(b)  organising – to ensure a means of progressive improvement by a management strategy for safety;

The departmental safety officer (and where appropriate area safety officer) and departmental safety advisory committee will help with (a) and (b) and the University Safety Office provides professional help.

(c)  control – to ensure that the safety systems and safety plans are implemented;

(d)  monitoring – practical measurement tools;

Policy Statement S1/07 Departmental Safety Inspections and the internal investigation of basic causes of accidents will help with (c) and (d) 

(e)  Review – of priorities for remedial action and of policy adherence

4.  Health surveillance

This is organised by the University Occupational Health Service when required, but departments are responsible for identifying work with risks, which according to University policy requires health surveillance, and for recruiting workers into the University scheme. Departments are also required to act on feed back from the Occupational Health Service.

5.  Emergency procedures

The MHSW Regulations require the University to establish written procedures, including evacuation procedures and procedures to call the emergency services, to deal with foreseeable situations that could present serious and imminent danger.  Fire risk is the main risk to be considered.  Other risks include leaking gas and bomb threats (advice on the latter should be obtained from the University Security Services).

The emergency procedures should identify both the responsibilities of individuals delegated to take action and the procedures that should be kept up-to-date.  Policy Statement S5/01 Contingency Planning for Fire and Flooding provides details on how departments/institutions/units are expected to deal with contingency planning.

6.  Information for employees

There is a requirement to provide information for employees (and students) on health and safety.  This requirement includes information on risk assessments, the preventative and protective measures and the emergency procedures relevant to each individual’s work.

The policy statements of the University appear on the intranet.

7.  Training

There has always been a requirement to provide training for employees (and students) on health and safety matters.  This is re-emphasised.  New employees need to be provided with Health and Safety Induction Training (see Policy Statement S5/10 Health and Safety Induction Training). Other training will be necessary to ensure and update competency, including competency to carry out risk assessment. 


March 2002