Do you think you comply with Health & Safety laws in Bermuda?

A while back I prepared a report to my organization that outlined our responsibility under Health and Safety laws in Bermuda.

I should note, these are laws and regulations that apply to ALL organizations and places of work in Bermuda that employ one or more persons.

It’s not bed-side reading, but it condenses hundreds of pages of laws and regulations into the key points.

This document outlines the specific requirements of the various government Acts and Regulations as they relate to implementing and managing H&S policy in Bermuda organizations.

The Government Acts and Regulations which are applicable include:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Act 1982 (consolidated 2004)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 2009
  • Occupational Safety and Health Ticketing Regulations 2012
  • Occupational Health and Safety (Approved Code of Practice) Notice 1997

Copies of all of the above and a number of additional pro-formas are available for download on www.bermudalaws.bm

General Duties – Employer

Subsection 3.(2) of the Regulations, general duties include:

a)      Providing and maintaining safe equipment

b)      Ensuring safe use, handling, storage and transport of materials

c)       Providing necessary information, instruction, training and supervision

d)      Maintenance of a safe place of work and ensuring safe means of access and egress

e)      Providing safe and adequate facilities

f)       Making arrangements for consulting and cooperating with the H&S Committee and H&S Representatives to resolve concerns.

Specific duties include:

  1. Investigate and report on “Accidents” and “Dangerous Occurrences”
  2. Make a copy of the Act and Regulations available for use by all employees
  3. Keep documents, data, procedures, etc. on the safe use and handling of materials and equipment.
  4. Reasonably mitigate exposure to risk for the general public

In compliance of these provisions, companies will need to:

  • Establish and empower H&S Committee(s) to address the requirements.
  • Enact specific policies to ensure:

a)      All machinery and equipment will be logged, maintenance requirements scheduled and recorded (see regs)

b)      Persons operating all machinery and equipment are adequately trained

  • Written operating procedures are provided for all equipment
  • Only trained operators should use trucks, forklifts, etc.
  • Persons operating any tools or equipment for the first time receive formal instruction from another trained person

c)       H&S information is provided at all places of work

  • Copy of the company H&S statement
  • Copy of the Act and Regulations
  • MSDS’s for frequently used materials
  • MSDS’s for ANY hazardous materials
  • Standard forms for reporting

d)      Make available the required resources, training, supervision, equipment and facilities at all places of work (see regs)

  • A H&S Representative is appointed on each site
  • First aid training (1 person for every 50)
    First aid and Fire protection equipment
  • Fire Safety and Emergency Action Plans
  • Provision of appropriate signage
  • Provision of appropriate PPE
  • Provision of adequate facilities
  • Ensuring cleanliness on site

e)      Reporting requirements (see preceding) are adhered to.

Health and Safety Committees

Under the terms of the Act, the make-up of the Health and Safety Committee (“Committee”) shall be as follows:

  • No fewer than 2 and no more than 12 persons
  • Half representing employees and half representing management, with each having a “Chair” appointed
  • If the Committee is centralized to cover all sites, 2 persons from each site over 10 persons (one employee, one management) shall be represented on the Committee
  • Where necessitated by large projects, separate sub-Committees will be established specifically for the project (see Construction Regs)

The duties of a Committee are (see Code of Practice):

  1. Risk assessment:  see “The Five Steps” in Code of Practice.
  2. Team inspection: conduct inspections, ensure compliance and report recommendations to senior management.
  3. In-house investigations of accidents and complaints:  review incident reports and complaints, visit sites, ensure corrective action is taken.
  4. Orientation, Training and Continuing Education:  Provide all employees with a written statement outlining the Committee’s purpose, scope, powers and composition.  Monitor and ensure that induction and training is relevant and in place.

Record keeping:

  1. Minutes should be kept and made available (using the above duties as specific subjects to be covered at every meeting)
  2. Both the management and employee “Chairs” should sign each meeting’s minutes
  3. Minutes shall be posted on office and site notice boards

Health and Safety Coordinators/Representatives

As “prime contractor” on a multiple employer site, General Contractors in particular will need to appoint a competent person to act as “Safety and Health Coordinator” on each work site.   All other contractors on site will appoint named persons to cooperate with the Safety and Health Coordinator.  The duties of a Safety and Health Coordinator are (see regs 5.10 and 14.15):

a)      Coordinate with all personnel in hazard control activities

b)      Receive reports/complaints from personnel

c)       Notify Greymane of any unsafe or potentially dangerous situations

d)      Monitor actions taken to reduce or control hazardous conditions

e)      Assist in investigations and inspections

f)       Make recommendations to eliminate or reduce risks

Formal reporting to the Chief H&S Officer is required as follows:

  • Annual report
  • Accident Reports
    • Death or Injury
    • Occupational illness
    • Non-injurious accident
    • Minor injury
    • Notice of Commencement
    • Project Information

Formal reporting to workplace notice boards are required as follows:

  • Certified First Aid Persons
  • Emergency Action Plans
  • H&S Policy Statement
  • First Aid Box Location
  • Committee Members

Formal record keeping is required as follows:

  • Committee Meetings/Reports
  • Complaints
  • Accident Reports
  • Equipment Logs
  • MSDS Sheets
  • Training Records
  • First Aid Box Logs
  • Register of Hazardous Substances
  • Personal Protective Equipment provided

Summary

Compliance with the Act and Regulations is the essential objective of any Health and Safety Policy.

In summary, this requires:

  • Establishment of a functioning Committee to be the ‘watch-dog’ for Health and Safety issues company-wide
  • Ensuring tools and equipment are properly used and maintained
  • Ensuring Health and Safety information and training are disseminated as required
  • Ensuring personnel and jobsites are adequately equipped to safely perform the required tasks and functions
  • Ensuring reporting and record-keeping are performed as required.
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About workforcebda

Alex owns and operates Workforce Ltd., a Bermuda-based staffing company for the construction industry.
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