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Various regulations for ensuring safety on ships are outlined in the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations 1997. You should heed the range of penalties that will be imposed should these regulations be violated.

Regulation 5: General duties

This regulation stipulates that, through measures including avoiding risks, evaluating unavoidable risks, adopting work patterns taking account of individuals’ capacities, and providing appropriate and relevant instruction for workers, employers should ensure workers’ health and safety to the greatest reasonably practicable extent. Contravening regulation 5 is punishable by, on summary conviction, a fine up to the statutory maximum or, on conviction on indictment, imprisonment up to two years, a fine, or both.

Regulation 14: Protective and preventive services

There are four particular obligations outlined under this regulation. Firstly, the employer should employ at least one competent person for providing the protective and preventive services necessary for complying with the regulations. Secondly, should no competent person be available, the employer should employ a competent person from an external source. Thirdly, should he be a competent person, the employer can task himself with handling the responsibilities referred to in the first obligation. Fourthly, for that first obligation, a sufficient number of persons with sufficient time, means and resources should be appointed for meeting these regulations’ requirements.

Contravening regulation 14 will, on summary conviction, lead to a fine up to £5,000. This maximum is equivalent to level 5 on the standard scale of fines for summary offences. As shown on the legislation.gov.uk website, this scale is outlined in the Criminal Justice Act 1982.

Regulations 6, 7, 16, 17, 20 and 21

These regulations concern the subjects of – respectively – health and safety policy; risk assessment; safety officers’ duties; the election of safety representatives and safety committees; consultation with workers; and workers’ general duties. Violating any of these regulations is punishable by, on summary conviction, a fine up to £2,500 – level 4 on the standard scale.

Regulations 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 22 and 24

The issues that these regulations address are those of – respectively – new or expectant mothers; night work; health surveillance; capabilities and training; prohibition on levy; and penalties. On summary conviction, violation of any of these regulations is punishable by a fine not exceeding £1,000, which is level 3 on the standard scale.

Regulations 15 and 19

Adhering to regulation 15, which relates to the appointment of safety officers, calls for a competent person to be appointed as a safety officer. Should a Company fail to do this, it can be punished, on summary conviction, by a fine up to £5,000; this is the standard scale’s level 5. Meanwhile, regulation 19 specifies duties for the Company and master. Should a Company fail to meet any of these duties, it will also incur a fine up to level 5, while a master that does not carry out any of these duties can be subject to a charge up to £1,000.

We are committed to helping you provide a safe environment for your crew – please get in touch to find out how we can help you.