What is Reasonably Practicable?

Reasonably Practicable – What does that mean?  Last time we talked about some of the new terminology that has been established under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.  We carry on that theme today with a few new terms that will be important to consider as you carry out your day to day activities whilst focusing on Health and Safety.

Reasonably Practicable

When considering issues surrounding Health and Safety, the Act requires the Court to assess whether the actions taken were “reasonably practicable”. This replaces the prior “all practicable steps” test. “Reasonably practicable” is defined as “that which is, or was, at a particular time, reasonably able to be done in relation to ensuring health and safety, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters, including:

  • the likelihood of the hazard or the risk concerned occurring;
  • the degree of harm that might result from the hazard or risk;
  • what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about the hazard risk and ways of eliminating the risk;
  • the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate/minimise the risk; and
  • cost associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk.”

When undertaking any action within your business always ask yourself if that action, process, tool or policy would be ‘reasonably practicable’ in your mind or that of an independent third party.  This will help you keep your standards high and help reduce any unnecessary risks that may occur.

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