Section 7 Duties of employees

The two main duties for employees are;

• To take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and others effected by their acts or omissions

• To co-operate with the employer and others to enable them to fulfil their legal obligations.

An employee may be prosecuted if or example he/she had not followed the systems of work alleged by the employer to be in force at the time of an incident.

An employee is at higher risk of prosecution if the person has received any previous warnings and whether the offence by the employee created an obvious risk.

A recent Section 7 HSWA prosecution case widely publicized was that of a steam train driver employed by West Coast Railway Company Limited who had faced charges under section 7(a) and 8. This related to his intentional misuse of the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) equipment and the train passing a signal at danger near Wootton Bassett junction in Wiltshire. The steam train driver with 40 years’ experience, pleaded guilty and received a four month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and was ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work.

Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974