Principles of Prevention

Principles of Prevention

The MHSW Regulations Schedule 1 specifies the general principles of prevention set out in Article 6(2) of the European Council Directive 89/391/EEC. For the first time, the principles have been enshrined directly in Regulations which state, in Regulation 4, that Where an employer implements any preventative measures, he shall do so based on the principles specified in Schedule 1 . These principles are: 

1. Avoiding risks

This means, for example, trying to stop doing the task or using different processes or doing the work in another, safer way. 

2. Evaluating the risks which cannot be avoided.

This requires a risk assessment to be carried out. 

3. Combating the risks at the source

This means that risks, such as a dusty work atmosphere, are controlled by removing the cause of the dust rather than providing special protection, or that slippery floors are treated or replaced rather than putting up a sign. 

4. Adapting the work to the individual

This involves the design of the workplace, the choice of work equipment and the choice of working and production methods, with a view, in particular, to alleviating monotonous work and work at a predetermined work rate and to reducing their effect on health. This will involve consulting those who will be affected when workplaces, methods of work and safety procedures are designed. The control individuals have over their work should be increased, and time spent working at predetermined speeds and in monotonous work should be reduced where it is reasonable to do so. 

5. Adapting to technical progress

It is important to take advantage of technological and technical progress, which often gives designers and employers the chance to improve safety and working methods. With the Internet and other international information sources available, very wide knowledge, going beyond what is happening in the UK or Europe, will be expected by the enforcing authorities and the courts. 

6. Replacing the dangerous with the non-dangerous or the less dangerous

This involves substituting, for example, equipment or substances with non-hazardous or less hazardous substances. 

7. Developing a coherent overall prevention policy

This covers technology, organization of work, working conditions, social relationships and the influence of factors relating to the working environment. Health and safety policies should be prepared and applied to these principles. 

8. Giving collective protective measures priority over individual protective measures

This means giving priority to control measures that make the workplace safe for everyone working there, giving the greatest benefit, for example, removing hazardous dust by exhaust ventilation rather than providing a filtering respirator to an individual worker. This is sometimes known as a ‘ Safe Place ’ approach to controlling risks. 

9. Giving appropriate instruction to employees

This involves ensuring that employees are fully aware of company policy, safety procedures, good practice, official guidance, test results, and legal requirements. This is sometimes known as a ‘ Safe Person ’ approach to controlling risks where the focus is on individuals. A properly set-up health and safety management system should cover and balance both a Safe Place and Safe Person approach. 

About Mohsin Wochoo

I'm Mohsin, a dedicated health and safety manager with over 7 years of experience in the industry. Currently, I work with AECOM USA and take pride in being a part of this globally renowned company that specializes in engineering, design, and infrastructure development. Throughout my career, I have been deeply committed to promoting and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for employees and stakeholders alike.

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