Companies and their directors and managers have a duty of care to ensure that their electrical appliances do not pose a threat to the health and safety of their employees, customers and the public who may come into contact with those appliances.
This requirement is now covered by legislation effective November 2007 under Statutory Instrument S.I. 299 (2007). This is the general application regulation covering the new legislation under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act that came into force in September 2005 with the introduction of the Commencement Order S.I. 328 (2005).
Under this new legislation the obligations under that duty of care have been spelled out in more detail and the penalties for defaulting have become greater including substantial fines and prison sentences for directors and also line managers of offending companies who are adjudged to be negligent.
In addition the Health and Safety Authority is now taking a more active role in the promotion of the requirements that this places on businesses and their directors/managers and a much more active role in compliance and enforcement.
Many companies, even those with well established and operated Health and Safety Policies and well exercised Corporate Social Responsibility Policies have been slow to implement routine Portable Appliance Testing. This situation is changing, not only for reasons of enforcement by the Health and Safety Authority, but also by best practice as part of the company’s own risk assessment process. This is being driven in some cases by the need to implement adequate systems for the attainment of quality marks and compliance with accepted standards and is now also becoming an issue for Insurance Companies in relation to their risk assessment and in determining premium levels.
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