HEALTH AND SAFETY“Absolute” and “Reasonably practicable”In some regulations, the term “absolute” generally means that the regulations should be absolutely have to be fulfilled (Blaus 2005, p. 66). In other words, the requirement must be met regardless of cost or any other consideration. The term ‘absolute’ is often used where risk is very likely and the chance of death and severe injury is huge. For instance, if the regulation says that electrical equipment which capacity is less than the required specifications should not be used, then the standard of duty is ‘absolute’. This is because precautions required by this regulation is evidently very simple and perhaps would not cost anything, and the resulting negligence would lead to death or sever injury, the level of duty to prevent this danger is considered ‘absolute’ or must be met at all cost. Alternatively, the term “reasonably practicable” requires someone to assess the magnitude of the risk of certain work activity or environment (Scaddan 2002, p. 208).
If the measures necessary to avert the risk is large enough and insignificant to the level of risk involved, then the level of duty to prevent the risk is ‘reasonably practicable’ (Stranks 2006, p. 18).
For instance, if the regulation says the all electrical systems shall be constructed and maintained to prevent danger and all work activities are to be carried out so as not to give rise to danger, the level of duty to follow this regulation is ‘reasonably practicable’. This is because the amount prevention involved is large compared to the possibility of risk. If it can be shown that there is a gross disproportion between these factors like risk being insignificant in relation to the sacrifice, then the extent of compliance is as reasonably practicable.
In other words, if the risks of injury is very small compared to the cost, time, and effort needed to diminish the danger, then no further action is required (Hughes & Ferrett 2008, p. 9). In health and safety, explain using examples, the difference between Regulations, Guidance, and Approved Codes of Practice. From the legal point of view according to Woolfson et al. (p. 348), an Approved Code of Practice has a less binding legal status that the Regulations, although more so that non-mandatory Guidance.
This is because Regulations are law approved by Parliament similar to the regulations under the Health and Safety at Work Act while Guidance has no formal legal standing like the ‘Best Practice Guidance’ being issued by HSC to cover the technical aspects of health and safety regulations (Hughes & Ferrett 2008, p. 10). Take for example Regulation 7 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) which states that “During working hours, the temperature in all workplace inside buildings shall be ‘reasonable’”. For ACOP, with no much work involve that require physical effort, this temperature should be at least 16 degrees Celsius.
Consequently, employers would not allow their workers to work at temperature below this specified temperature unless they feel ‘reasonable’ to do so. Similarly, consulting the best practice guidance would give them the possible solutions to the maintenance of employee welfare in low temperature environments.