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Health and Safety Standards

Explore workplace health and safety laws in Gibraltar

Health and safety laws

Gibraltar's health and safety laws are primarily shaped by European Union directives, which have been transposed into local law. The key pieces of legislation include the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1996 and the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act 1999.

Key Responsibilities of Employers

Employers in Gibraltar have specific duties under health and safety regulations. These include conducting risk assessments, developing and implementing safe systems of work, providing employees with adequate information, instruction, and training on workplace hazards, encouraging employee involvement in health and safety matters, providing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when necessary, and reporting certain accidents, injuries, dangerous occurrences, and occupational diseases to the relevant authorities.

Key Rights of Employees

Employees in Gibraltar have several rights under health and safety laws. These include the right to refuse work they believe poses a serious and imminent risk to themselves or others, the right to be consulted on health and safety matters and to have representatives participate in workplace safety initiatives, the right to receive the necessary information and training to work safely, and protection from discrimination for raising health and safety concerns or participating in health and safety activities.

Specific Safety Requirements

Gibraltar's laws contain requirements for specific workplace hazards. These include the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 for managing health and safety throughout the construction process, the Work at Height Regulations 2011 for preventing falls from height, and the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2010 for working with asbestos-containing materials.

Enforcement Agencies

The relevant Gibraltar Government agencies enforce workplace health and safety regulations. For example, the Environmental Agency may take enforcement action, including issuing improvement and prohibition notices and initiating prosecutions for offenses against health and safety laws.

Occupational health and safety

Gibraltar's occupational health and safety (OHS) framework is robust and largely aligned with the European Union and influenced by UK standards. It is guided by key pieces of legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act (1995), Factories Act (1960), and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1996). The Environmental Agency (EA) is Gibraltar's regulatory body responsible for enforcing OHS legislation.

Employers' Responsibilities

Employers in Gibraltar are legally obligated to provide a safe workplace, conduct risk assessments, provide information, instruction, and training, consult with employees, have a written health and safety policy, and appoint competent OHS personnel.

Employees' Responsibilities

Employees in Gibraltar are required to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of others affected by their actions. They must cooperate with their employer by following OHS policies and procedures, participating in OHS training, and reporting hazards and incidents.

Specific Occupational Health and Safety Practices

Hazard Prevention and Control

Hazard prevention and control measures include the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by employers if hazards cannot be eliminated by other means. Employers are also required to establish plans for fire, accidents, and other emergencies, and provide first aid facilities and trained personnel.

Occupational Health

Occupational health practices include conducting health checks for employees exposed to specific risks such as noise and chemicals. Larger organizations may utilize dedicated occupational health specialists for assessments, health promotion, and managing work-related health issues.

Workplace Welfare

Workplace welfare practices include ensuring adequate ventilation, lighting, temperature, and noise control. Employers are also required to provide suitable rest areas and sanitary facilities.

Workplace inspection

Workplace inspections in Gibraltar play a crucial role in ensuring businesses adhere to employment law and safety standards. These inspections are instrumental in protecting employees, ensuring a fair workplace, and maintaining industry standards.

Authorities Responsible for Workplace Inspections

In Gibraltar, the Department of Employment – Labour Inspectorate and the Environmental Safety Group (ESG) – Health and Safety Department are responsible for conducting workplace inspections. The former enforces employment legislation, including working conditions, minimum wage, and termination rights, while the latter ensures workplaces comply with the Factories Act and associated health and safety regulations.

Inspection Criteria

Workplace inspections cover several key aspects, including health and safety and employment rights. Under health and safety, inspectors look at risk assessments, fire safety and emergency procedures, first aid provisions, hazard control measures, personal protective equipment (PPE), and accident reporting. Employment rights inspections focus on employment contracts, working hours and overtime, holiday and sick leave, pay and payslips, and anti-discrimination policies.

Frequency of Inspections

The frequency of workplace inspections in Gibraltar depends on the business size and type, compliance history, and specific employee complaints. Larger and high-risk workplaces tend to be inspected more frequently, and businesses with a poor compliance record may face more inspections.

Inspection Procedures

The inspection process typically involves a notice, an opening interview, a walkthrough of the workplace, interviews with employees and the employer, and a closing meeting where the inspector discusses initial findings and potential non-compliance issues.

Follow-up Actions

After the inspection, follow-up actions may include informal action, an Improvement Notice, a Prohibition Notice, or prosecution. Informal action may involve advice or a requirement to address minor issues within a set period. An Improvement Notice requires the business to rectify a breach of regulations within a specified timeframe, while a Prohibition Notice immediately stops an activity that presents an imminent risk of serious harm. In cases of severe non-compliance or repeated violations, the authorities may initiate legal proceedings.

Workplace accidents

In Gibraltar, both employers and employees are required to adhere to specific procedures following a workplace accident.

Reporting Requirements

Employers are obligated to report certain types of accidents, injuries, diseases, and dangerous occurrences to the Environmental Safety Group (ESG) - Health and Safety Department. This reporting must align with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). Incidents that must be reported include work-related deaths, injuries resulting in over 7 days of incapacitation, specified major injuries such as fractures and amputations, and dangerous occurrences that have the potential for serious harm.

In addition, employers are required to maintain a record of all workplace accidents, regardless of their severity, for a minimum of three years. These records are crucial for internal analysis and insurance purposes.

Investigation Processes

The immediate action following a workplace accident includes securing the scene to prevent further harm, providing first aid or arranging for medical assistance, and informing management or a designated responsible person.

An internal investigation should then be conducted, which involves gathering evidence such as photos, witness statements, and equipment logs, identifying the root causes of the accident, implementing corrective measures to prevent recurrence, and reviewing relevant risk assessments and updating them if necessary.

In cases of serious incidents or those involving potential regulatory breaches, the Health and Safety Department may conduct an external investigation.

Compensation Claims

Depending on the circumstances, injured employees may be entitled to compensation under Gibraltar's laws.

Employees may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they are unable to work due to their injury. Most employers in Gibraltar are required to have Employer's Liability insurance, which covers compensation for work-related injuries or illnesses caused by employer negligence.

Employees may also file a personal injury claim through the courts if the employer's negligence directly caused injury. However, strict time limits apply for such claims.

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