Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by the Health and Safety Executive (Bus 33)



  1.  The Health and Safety Executive is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of occupational health and safety legislation in a wide range of premises and activities within Great Britain. Our remit covers bus stations, depots, maintenance workshops and on the road activities.

  2.  Operators in the bus industry are subject to the requirements of health and safety legislation which places responsibilities on them to carry out their activities safely. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) contains a number of general duties which apply to all work activities in Great Britain, including the bus industry. In particular:

    —  Section 2 imposes a duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees; and

    —  Section 3 requires employers and the self-employed to conduct their undertakings, as far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure that the health and safety of persons who are not their employees eg members of the public, are not put at risk.

  Other sections of the Act place duties on persons who have control of premises used as workplaces (s.4) and persons who supply equipment for use at work (s.6). In addition, many of the regulations made under HSWA also apply to the bus industry, particularly the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 which implement the European Health and Safety Framework Directive.

  3.  It is the policy of the Health and Safety Commission and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that HSE should not generally seek to enforce health and safety legislation where the safety of workers and the public is adequately protected by more specific and detailed legislation enforced by another authority. As a result HSE will not normally enforce HSWA in those areas of bus operation where safety can be adequately regulated through the Road Traffic Acts, or through the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1996. However, where other legislation does not provide the means to regulate safety adequately it may be necessary to apply HSWA, particularly in cases where there are serious management short-comings.

  4.  Current issues of concern to HSE are the design of bus stations, particularly drive-in reverse-out designs, where accidents have occurred when buses have injured waiting passengers, the non reporting of accidents, and violence to drivers.

Graeme Henderson

Safety Policy Directorate

10 April 2002

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