90 days from today is Tue, 25 December 2018
Police officers do a risky and dangerous job. It is vital that forces recognises the challenging nature of operational policing and the hazardous environments in which officers are required to work.
Effective health and safety risk management must be integral to the culture of the police service so that the right balance is achieved between operational policing and health and safety duties.
Sound health and safety arrangements must be fully integrated into operational policing in order to reduce risks wherever possible.
Police officers inevitably face significant and serious dangers in the course of their work and health and safety legislation exists to provide protections for officers wherever possible. Health and safety law does not prevent police officers from delivering an effective emergency service.
The Police (Health & Safety) Act 1997 made police officers employees for the purposes of health and safety legislation. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) and the regulations made under it apply to all work activities. A breach of any of these duties is a criminal act.
PFEW believes that there is no legal reason for the police service to be treated differently from any other service or organisation. Section 2(1) of the 1974 Health and Safety Act states that it is the central duty of the employer to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare of all employees. The qualification “so far as is reasonably practicable” means that there should be no conflict between effective policing and compliance with health and safety legislation.
Suitable and sufficient risk assessments should ensure that, whilst dangerous activities may need to be undertaken, the risk involved should be reduced to as low as is reasonably practicable.
Proper observance of health, safety and welfare must go hand in hand with the provision of effective policing. In the hazardous police environment, the legislation strives to create work surroundings, which are free, as far as is reasonably practicable, from risk, so that officers’ working conditions are as safe as possible.
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