"So far as is reasonably practicable"

What does so far as is reasonably practicable mean?

The main piece of Health and Safety Legislation in the Republic of Ireland is the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. In it, it places duties on employers to manage health and safety and safeguard that of its employees "so far as is reasonably practicable"

According to the HSA (Health and Safety Authority" Guidance on the Act:

"(6) For the purposes of the relevant statutory provisions, "reasonably practicable", in relation to the duties of an employer, means that an employer has exercised all due care by putting in place the necessary protective and preventive measures, having identified the hazards and assessed the risks to safety and health likely to result in accidents or injury to health at the place of work concerned and where the putting in place of any further measures is grossly disproportionate having regard to the unusual, unforeseeable and exceptional nature of any circumstance or occurrence that may result in an accident at work or injury to health at that place of work."

In short, if the employer considers it is not not practicable to put certain control measures into effect, or if there are more appropriate ways of ensuring safety and health, the employer should explain the reasons why.

Click here for a copy of the Guidance. It is available to download for free.

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