H&S Legal Context

Legal Context

Legal Context

UCC and statutory safety law - context

Irish/Eu Occupational H&S law (SHWW law), relates only to employed persons. This law applies to the work activities of UCC staff* at their place of work, both on Campus and off Campus. Occ. H&S duties arises for UCC and its executive management, w.r.t. staff research & teaching; in the upkeep of equipment, premises and grounds and in the use, by employees, of  work equipment, plant and facilities.

Note*: Students undergoing a course of study at UCC are not deemed to be employees of UCC, under SHWW law. [Reg 2(5) SHWW Act 2005). Separate common law duties apply to students and third parties. (see Common Law Context & UCC below) 

Irish Statutory Safety Law (Employment Law) : Under the provisions of Irish SHWW law, the 'controlling minds' of the University, e.g the UMT and each executive manager, who decide policy, control budgets/ resources, staff activities or otherwise control the delivery of services, at a Functional Area or at a School/Department level throughout the University, are responsible, in so  far as is reasonably practicable (AFARP), for the occ. h&s of the employees under their control. (This includes compliance with the provision of  all aspects of SHWW law that is relevant to the work activites and places of work under their control). 

All employees (including managers), also have legal duties to co-operate with and generally assist their employer in complying with the requirements of SHWW law.

The obligations/duties under SHWW Law, (employment law) , whilst overlapping with the general obligations of common law (see below), apply only in the context of the work of employees, as conducted at their places of work. 

Footnote: Breaches of statutory (SHWW) law can give rise to the prosecution of individual mangers/employees as well as the body corporate. (Assessment of risk and implementation of required controls/safety guidance and training is the best way to protect everyone).

The above is separate to the University's common law obligations, for further information please see Common Law Context & UCC below.

Common Law Context & UCC

Common Law duties are separate to statutory (SHWW law) duties . Common law principles derive from the English & Irish legal system and determinations by Judges in civil law cases for compensation. ( This is in contrast to statutory SHWW law which enacts Irish/Eu social partnership legislation in order to PRO-ACTIVELY protect workers and the community at large).

In accordance with common law principles, UCC as a provider of educational/ research services and as an owner of substantial premises/ facilities, has separate general 'duty of care' obligations, (e.g. common law duties), to discharge to all persons who work or study at UCC, or who visit UCC.  This is discharged by all UCC managers, lecturers and other staff delivering services. 

(Common law duties apply to the provision, AFARP, of safe places, safe equipment and safe systems, competent persons & adequate supervision. Foreseeability is also a factor).

Footnote: Determination of  any breach of common law safety duties only arise where an injury /illness compensation case is  taken via the national PIAB system/the Courts.  (As UCC is responsible for its employees and the manner in which they discharge their duties, UCC rather than individual employees would generally be the entity sued by 3rd parties in relation to any work accidents at UCC). 

Health & Safety Office

5 Carrigside, College Road, Cork