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Health & Safety in the Charity Sector Introduction There are many myths concerning health and safety. We have all read numerous misguided stories in the press, for example about the banning of bunting, or the wearing of school ties. Needless to say, these stories tend to have little or no foundation. The simple fact is that there is risk in everything that we do in life, but that does not mean that we should not do it, as long as the risks have been properly assessed. Indeed the charity sector is one in which the taking of properly assessed risks is often an inherent part of work.

The Legal Context

Health And Safety, Good For Everyone" based on previous proposals

For charities, like all other organisations, the core statute remains

by Lord Young. The Government’s proposals signal a new start for

the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which places a duty on

health and safety regulation in this country, characterised by a

employers to ensure the health and safety and welfare of their

lighter approach, with efforts concentrated on higher risk

employees and non employees as far as is reasonably practicable.

industries and on tackling serious breaches of the rules. Amongst

In addition to the 1974 Act, there are many other more specific health and safety regulations, which reflect the myriad health and safety issues within most organisations, for example regulations dealing with asbestos, fire safety, or noise prevention. Health and

the changes being introduced are a clampdown on rogue health and safety advisers, who cost charities and other organisations too much money by giving them advice which bears little relation to the actual requirements of the legislation.

safety must nowadays therefore be an integral part of every

The Government have also made clear their wish to simplify health

organisation’s strategy.

and safety regulation and legislation, in order to ease the burden

Providing a safe organisation is not just a statutory requirement: charity trustees owe various “fiduciary” and other duties to beneficiaries, volunteers and others using charity services or premises. The costs and liabilities associated with ill health and injury can be substantial.

on businesses. This will include an ongoing review of all health and safety regulation backed by a independent advisory panel. This review has been asked to make recommendations for simplifying the current regulations by the autumn of this year.

How can we help you? Our Advisory Service

Health and safety law is also in the middle of one of the biggest

At Stone King we firmly believe that prevention is better than cure.

shake-ups in recent memory. In March this year the Government

In line with the Government’s plans, we provide specialised and

published their plans in the form of their document "Good

pragmatic legal advice within a cost framework that is proportionate

Reform


to the risks involved. We aim to reduce the administrative and

prosecuting authorities. We would support and advise you at every

financial burden felt by many charities. Our expertise in the charity

stage, up to and including the conclusion of any Court proceedings

sector distinguishes us from everyday health and safety consultants

that may follow a breach of health and safety law. Our experience

– our advice is sharply focussed on the not-for-profit sector and

shows that with the best professional advice and negotiation

the essentials of health and safety law. We would like to assist

strategies it is often possible to avoid the need for Court

you by:

proceedings, and therefore the negative publicity and costs

◆ Reviewing your existing health and safety framework and

consequences that can result.

advising on its compliance with the current health and safety regulations

Who are we?

◆ Helping you to set up a simple, cost-effective and self-auditing

Andrew Banks Partner Member of the Health and Safety Lawyers' Association and the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Direct Dial: 01225 324462 AJB@stoneking.co.uk

health and safety framework ◆ Advising on an ad hoc basis with regard to any particular

risks or health and safety situations, to include the preparation of risk assessments if required ◆ Keeping you fully updated with regard to the changing health

David Milton Associate Member of the Health and Safety Lawyers' Association and the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Direct Dial: 01225 324433 DJMM@stoneking.co.uk

and safety landscape, to include reference to any relevant Court decisions

Our Defence Service We also understand that it may not always be possible to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations 100% of the time. We can advise in respect of any investigations or prosecutions being carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or other

For a free, no obligation, discussion about how we can help you please contact either of us and we will be happy to assist.

Stone King LLP 13 Queen Square Bath BA1 2HJ Tel. 01225 337599 Fax. 01225 335437 16 St John’s Lane London EC1M 4BS Tel. 020 7796 1007 Fax. 020 7796 1017 Wellington House East Road Cambridge CB1 1BH Tel. 01223 451070 Fax. 01223 451100

www.stoneking.co.uk email: charity@stoneking.co.uk

© Stone King LLP 2011

Stone King LLP - registered limited liability partnership no OC315280, registered office 13 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HJ

June/2011


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