Martyn's Law Vs Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

Martyn's Law vs Health & Safety at Work Act

When it comes to setting the standard for protecting worker’s health and safety at work, there is no more important legislation than the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. However, there is a new piece of legislation on the block – the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, commonly known as Martyn’s Law.

The main requirement of Martyn’s Law is to assess and mitigate against the impact of a terrorist attack. In other words, conduct a risk assessment. So, it would be quite natural to assume that if you comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act, you will also comply with Martyn’s Law.

In this blog, we are going to take an in depth look at the differences between the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and Martyn’s Law. So, prepare yourself for a deep dive into risk assessments!!

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1. Scope

The Health and Safety at Work Act requires risk assessments to identify hazards in the workplace that could cause harm to the health and safety of employees. This includes harm from physical hazards such as machinery and chemicals, but it also includes hazards from ergonomics or other workplace hazards, such as high workloads or tight deadlines.

While in contrast, Martyn’s Law extends the scope of risk assessments beyond just traditional workplace hazards specifically to include the threat of terrorism. It requires venue operators and event organisers to assess the risk posed by a terrorist attack and implement security measures to prevent these attacks, ensuring the safety of both employees and the public.

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2. Nature

Risks assessed under the Health and Safety at Work Act primarily focus on occupational health and safety hazards within the workplace environment. These hazards may include slips, trips, and falls, as well as exposures to other risks or such as harmful substances and strains from sitting at a desk for too long, for example.

Martyn’s Law extends the nature of the risk assessments to include the threat of terrorism. This involves assessing the vulnerability of public venues to potential terrorist attacks, such as bombing, shootings or vehicle ramming incidents. This requires venue operators and event organisers to consider security measures such as access control, surveillance systems and emergency response plans to protect employees and visitors.

3. Transparency

While the Health and Safety at Work Act requires employers to communicate health and safety information to employees, there is no explicit requirement for public disclosure of risk assessments or safety measures.

Martyn’s Law emphasises the public disclosure of security information by venue operators and event organisers, including details of risk assessments, security measures and, more importantly, response actions. This transparency aims to inform and reassure employers, visitors and the wider public about the security measures in place to mitigate the risk of a terrorist attack.

In conclusion, while both the Health and Safety at Work Act and Martyn’s Law prioritise risk assessments to ensure employee safety, they differ in scope and nature. Understanding these differences is essential for organisations to comply with the new Martyn’s Law legislation which ultimately fosters a safe and secure working environment for employees.

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