THE HEALTH and SAFETY EXECUTIVE
Moving into new offices - or starting to work from home - should be a motivating experience. Whether you're looking for commercial property for the first time or seeking a change, consider the main factors in advance, to reduce the headaches later.
Finding the right sort of office space for your business can be a challenge - more so in some areas because of rogue planners. Wealden is widely held to be one such affected area. In addition to the other farming cases featured on this site, we know of several cases in the Wealden District where fruit, fish and ostrich business/farm investments went pear shaped because of David Phillips led enforcement!
What are the health and safety implications of rogue enforcement. Well, normally, you would require separate toilet washing and food preparation facilities. Howver, we know of several cases where Wealden District Council's enforcement officer, David Phillips, has used ratepayers money to gain injunctions to remove toilets/washing facilities, contrary to the Health & Safety Regs. In one case at Herstmonceux in Sussex the occupier was ordered to remove this equipment, even though it is required by law. On appeal to the High Court, the bench refused to allow a letter from the Health & Safety Executive to be adduced - which letter confirmed H&S Regs. take precedence as statute. The genral principle is that no court can take away from you that which the state has granted to you.
However, Dame Butler Schloss did not want to offend Wealden District Council, hence in a balancing act between what was correct in law and what would placate the council, she made it clear that after removing the toilet, etc, to comply with the injunction, the owner should refit the equipment to comply with H&S Regulations. So much for justice! The situation was eventually restored but only after £20,000 in costs, plus the inconvenience of a two year wait and the worry. That's Wealden for you!
Your council may or may not be this bloody minded. To be on the safe side, why not form a limited company, then apply in your corporate identity for H&S compliance. As a director of your company, you are responsible for the safety of your employees. Of course, as a director, you are also an employee of the company. In the Herstmonceux case above, Wealden argued that the occupier was self employed and did not need to comply with H&S regs. This was of course wrong (and please refer to the Regulations on this website), however, to be on the safe side - form a limited company.
You need to obtain confirmation of the minimum H&S requirements and then serve a form of Notice on your County Council. After that, if your council try to make you remove anything required to comply with H&S regulations, produce the Notice and the 1992 Regulations to the Court. The Court will then be forced to find in your favour.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
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Use the alphabet links to list Health and Safety Executive documents.