The European Union y has enacted a considerable amount of legislation in the area of health, safety, and welfare at work. The purpose is both to protect employees and to create a level playing pitch in relation to labor, health, and safety standards. The health and safety at work directives provide for workplace standards. A workplace includes any place which houses workstations or other places within the business to which the employee has access in the course of employment.
The directive does not apply to
- means of transport,
- outside the business place or workplaces within means of transport.
- Temporary or mobile worksites.
- Extracting industries.
- Fishing boats.
- Agricultural settings
The directive distinguishes between workplaces in use before 31st December, 1992 and those used afterwards. The directive specifies requirements in detail in respect of workplaces in use prior to 1993 and those coming into use afterwards. The latter requirements are more onerous.
The framework directive on health and safety at work applies to all activities with the exception of limited specified activities in the public and civil protection services.
Employers must ensure the safety and health of workers in every aspect of the work, primarily on the basis of specified general principles of prevention, without involving the workers in financial costs. They must evaluate occupational risks, at all relevant times, for example, in the choice of work equipment fitting out of workplaces, and make provisions for adequate protective and preventive services.
Employers must keep a list of and draw up reports on occupational accidents. They must take the necessary measures for first aid, fire fighting, evacuation of workers, and action required in the event of serious and imminent danger. They must inform and consult workers and allow them to take part in all questions relating to health and safety at work. They must ensure that each worker receives health and safety training through the period of employment.
Employees also have duties. Employees must Correctly use machinery, means of production, personal protective equipment and safety devices. They must give warning to any workplace situation representing a serious and immediate danger and any shortcomings in protective arrangements.
They must cooperate in fulfilling any requirements imposed for the protection of health and safety and to ensure the working environment and conditions are safe.
Particularly sensitive risk groups must be protected against dangers applicable to them.