Health and Safety at Work Act


Published: 2002-02-01

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Health and Safety at Work Act
HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK [CH.321C – 1


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CHAPTER 321C

HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK

LIST OF AUTHORISED PAGES

1 – 16 LRO 1/2006


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
SECTION
1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Application of Act.
4. General duties of employers to their employees.
5. General duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees.
6. General duties of manufacturers, etc., as regards articles and substances for use at work.
7. General duties of employees at work.
8. Duty not to interfere.
9. Duty not to charge employees.
10. Inspector.
11. Improvement notices.
12. Prohibition notices.
13. Provisions supplementary to sections 10 and 11.
14. Appeal against improvement or prohibition notice.
15. Power to deal with cause of imminent danger.
16. Power of customs officer to detain articles and substances.
17. Offences.
18. Advisory Council.
19. Regulations.
20. Codes of practice.
21. Exemption.
22. Establishment of health and safety committees.
23. Conflict with other Acts and savings.
24. Expenses.
25. Act binds the Crown.

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CHAPTER 321C

HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK
An Act to make provisions relating to health and safety

at work and for connected purposes.
[Assent 21st January, 2002]

[Commencement 1st February, 2002]
1. (1) This Act may be cited as the Health and Safety

at Work Act.
2. (1) In this Act —
“article for use at work” means —

(a) any plant designed for use or operation
(whether exclusively or not) by persons at
work; and

(b) any articles designed for use as a component
in any such plant;

“code of practice” includes a standard, a specification
and any other documentary form of practical
guidance;

“Council” means the Advisory Council for Health
and Safety established by section 18;

“employee” means any person who has entered into
or works under (or, in the case of a contract
which has been terminated, worked under) a
contract of employment, whether the contract is
for manual labour, clerical work or otherwise
and whether it is a contract of service or
apprenticeship, and any reference to
employment shall be construed accordingly;

“employer”, in relation to an employee, means any
person or undertaking, corporation, company,
public authority or body of persons including —
(a) the owner of a business in which the

employee is employed;

2 of 2002

Short title.

Interpretation.

CH.321C – 4] HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2006

(b) any managing agent of an employer;
(c) in relation to a person engaged in plying for

hire with any vehicle or vessel the use of
which is obtained from the owner thereof
under a contract of bailment (other than a
hire-purchase agreement), the said owner;

(d) in relation to a person employed for the
purposes of any game or recreation and
engaged or paid through a club, the
manager, or, where the club is managed by
a committee, the members of the managing
committee, of the club,

who or which employs any person to work under
a contract of employment or uses the services
of a commission agent or contract worker; and
includes the heirs, successors and assigns of an
employer;

“health and safety committee” means a committee
established pursuant to section 20;

“inspector” means an inspector designated under
section 10;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for La-
bour;

“regulations” means regulations made under this Act
and in the manner provided by this Act;

“personal injury” includes any disease and any
impairment of a person’s physical or mental
condition;

“place of employment” means any building, site,
workshop, structure, quarry, or other premises
or place in which one or more employees or self-
employed persons usually work or have
worked;

“plant” includes any machinery, equipment or
appliance;

“self-employed person” means an individual who
works for gain or reward otherwise than under a
contract of employment whether or not he
himself employs others;

“substance” means any natural or artificial substance,
whether in solid or liquid form or in the form of
a gas or vapour;

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“supply” where the reference is to supplying articles
means supplying them by way of sale, lease,
hire or hire-purchase whether as a principal or
agent for another;

“Tribunal” means the Industrial Tribunal established
under the Industrial Relations Act.

(2) For the purposes of this Act —
(a) “work” means work as an employee or as a self-

employed person;
(b) an employee is at work throughout the time

when he is in the course of his employment, but
not otherwise; and

(c) a self-employed person is at work through-
out such time as he devotes to work as a
self-employed person.

3. (1) The provisions of this Act shall have effect
with a view to —

(a) securing the health, safety and welfare of
persons at work;

(b) protecting persons other than persons at work
against risks to health or safety arising out of or
in connection with the activities of persons at
work;

(c) controlling the keeping and use of explosive or
highly flammable or otherwise dangerous sub-
stances, and generally preventing the unlawful
acquisition, possession and use of such sub-
stances.

(2) For the purposes of this Act, risks arising out of
or in connection with the activities of persons at work shall
be treated as including risks attributable to the manner of
conducting an undertaking, the plant or substances used for
the purposes of an undertaking and the condition of
premises so used or any part of them.

4. (1) It shall be the duty of every employer to
ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health,
safety and welfare at work of all his employees.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of an emplo-
yer’s duty under subsection (1) the matters to which that
duty extends include in particular —




Ch. 321.

Application of
Act.

General duties of
employers to
their employees.

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(a) the provision and maintenance of plant and
systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably
practicable, safe and without risks to health;

(b) arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reason-
ably practicable, safety and absence of risks to
health in connection with the use, handling,
storage and transport of articles and substances;

(c) the provision of such information, instruction,
training and supervision as is necessary to
ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the
health and safety at work of his employees;

(d) so far as is reasonably practicable as regards any
place of work under the employer’s control, the
maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and
without risks to health and the provision and
maintenance of means of access to and egress
from it that are safe and without such risks;

(e) the provision and maintenance of a working
environment for his employees that is, so far as
is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to
health, and adequate as regards facilities and
arrangements for their welfare at work.

5. (1) It shall be the duty of every employer to
conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far
as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his
employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby
exposed to risks to their health or safety.

(2) It shall be the duty of every self-employed
person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to
ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other
persons (not being his employees) who may be affected
thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or
safety.

(3) In such cases as may be prescribed, it shall be
the duty of every employer and every self-employed
person, in the prescribed circumstances and in the
prescribed manner, to give to persons (not being his
employees) who may be affected by the way in which he
conducts his undertaking the prescribed information about
such aspects of the way in which he conducts his
undertaking as might affect their health or safety.

General duties of
employers and
self-employed to
persons other
than their
employees.

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6. (1) It shall be the duty of any person who
designs, manufactures, imports or supplies any article for
use at work or any article of fairground equipment —

(a) to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that
the article is so designed and constructed that it
will be safe and without risks to health at all
times when it is being set, used, cleaned or
maintained by a person at work;

(b) to carry out or arrange for the carrying out of
such testing and examination as may be neces-
sary for the performance of the duty imposed on
him by paragraph (a);

(c) to take such steps as are necessary to ensure that
persons supplied by that person with the article
are provided with adequate information about
the use for which the article is designed or has
been tested and about any conditions necessary
to ensure that it will be safe and without risks to
health at all such times as are mentioned in
paragraph (a) and when it is being dismantled or
disposed of; and

(d) to take such steps as are necessary to ensure, so
far as is reasonably practicable, that persons so
supplied are provided with all such revisions of
information provided to them by virtue of
paragraph (c) as are necessary by reason of its
becoming known that anything gives rise to a
serious risk to health or safety.

(2) It shall be the duty of any person who designs,
manufacturers, imports or supplies any articles of fair-
ground equipment —

(a) to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that
the article is so designed and constructed that it
will be safe and without risks to health at all
times when it is being used for or in connection
with the entertainment of members of the public;

(b) to carry out or arrange for the carrying out of
such testing and examination as may be neces-
sary for the performance of the duty imposed on
him by paragraph (a);

(c) to take such steps as are necessary to secure that
persons supplied by that person with the article
are provided with adequate information about
the use for which the article is designed or has


General duties of
manufacturers,
etc., as regards
articles and
substances for
use at work.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2006

been tested and about any conditions necessary
to ensure that it will be safe and without risks to
health at all times when it is being used for or in
connection with the entertainment of members
of the public; and

(d) to take such steps as are necessary to secure, so
far as is reasonably practicable, that persons so
supplied are provided with all such revisions of
information provided to them by virtue of
paragraph (c) as are necessary by reason of it
becoming known that anything gives rise to a
serious risk to health or safety.

(3) It shall be the duty of any person who undertakes
the design or manufacture of any article for use at work (or
of any article of fairground equipment) to carry out or
arrange for the carrying out of any necessary research with
a view to the discovery and, so far as is reasonably
practicable, the elimination or minimisation of any risks to
health or safety to which the design or article may give rise.

(4) It shall be the duty of any person who erects or
installs any article for use at work in any premises where
that article is to be used by persons at work (or who erects
or installs any article of fairground equipment) to ensure,
so far as is reasonably practicable, that nothing about the
way in which the article is erected or installed makes it
unsafe or a risk to health at any such time as is mentioned
in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) or, as the case may be, in
paragraph (a) of subsection (2).

(5) It shall be the duty of any person who
manufactures, imports or supplies any substance —

(a) to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that
the substance will be safe and without risks to
health at all times when it is being used, handled,
processed, stored or transported by a person at
work;

(b) to carry out or arrange for the carrying out of
such testing and examination as may be neces-
sary for the performance of the duty imposed on
him by paragraph (a);

(c) to take such steps as are necessary to ensure that
persons supplied by that person with the
substance are provided with adequate informa-
tion about any risks to health or safety to which


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the inherent properties of the substance may
give rise, about the results of any relevant tests
which have been carried out on or in connection
with the substance and about any conditions
necessary to ensure that the substance will be
safe and without risks to health at all such times
as are mentioned in paragraph (a) and when the
substance is being disposed of; and

(d) to take such steps as are necessary to secure, so
far as is reasonably practicable, that persons so
supplied are provided with all such revisions of
information provided to them by virtue of
paragraph (c) as are necessary by reason of its
becoming known that anything gives rise to a
serious risk to health or safety.

(6) It shall be the duty of any person who undertakes
the manufacture of any substance to carry out or arrange
for the carrying out of any necessary research with a view
to the discovery and, so far as is reasonably practicable, the
elimination or minimisation of any risks to health or safety
to which the substance may give rise (at all such times as
are mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (5).

(7) Nothing in the preceding provisions of this section
shall be taken to require a person to repeat any testing,
examination or research which has been carried out
otherwise than by him or at his instance, in so far as it is
reasonable for him to rely on the results thereof for the
purposes of those provisions.

(8) Any duty imposed on any person by any of the
preceding provisions of this section shall extend only to
things done in the course of a trade, business or other
undertaking carried on by him (whether for profit or not)
and to matters within his control.

(9) Where a person designs, manufacturers, imports
or supplies an article (for use at work or an article of
fairground equipment and does so for or to another) on the
basis of a written undertaking by that other to take
specified steps sufficient to ensure, so far as is reasonably
practicable, that the article will be safe and without risks to
health (at all such times as are mentioned in paragraph (a)
of subsection (1) or, as the case may be, in paragraph (a) of
subsection (2), the undertaking shall have the effect of
relieving the first-mentioned person from the duty imposed
(by virtue of that paragraph) to such extent as is reasonable
having regard to the terms of the undertaking.

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(10) Nothing in subsection (8) or (9) shall relieve any
person who imports any article or substance from any duty
in respect of anything which —

(a) in the case of an article designed outside The
Bahamas was done by and in the course of any
trade, profession or other undertaking carried on
by, or was within the control of, the person who
designed the article; or

(b) in the case of an article or substance manufac-
tured outside The Bahamas was done by and in
the course of any trade, profession or other
undertaking carried on by, or was within the
control of, the person who manufactured the
article or substance.

(11) For the purposes of this section an absence of
safety or a risk to health shall be disregarded in so far as
the case is or in relation to which it would arise is shown to
be one of the occurrence of which could not reasonably be
foreseen; and in determining whether any duty imposed by
virtue of paragraph (a) of subsection (1), (2) or (5) has been
performed regard shall be had to any relevant information
or advice which has been provided to any person by the
person by whom the article has been designed, manufac-
tured, imported or supplied or, as the case may be, by the
person by whom the substance has been manufactured,
imported or supplied.

7. It shall be the duty of every employee while at
work —

(a) to take reasonable care for the health and safety
of himself and of other persons who may be
affected by his acts or omissions at work; and

(b) as regards any duty or requirement imposed on
his employer or any other person by or under
any of the relevant statutory provisions, to co-
operate with him so far as is necessary to enable
that duty or requirement to be performed or
complied with.

8. No person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere
with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health,
safety or welfare in pursuance of any provisions of this
Act.

General duties of
employees at
work.

Duty not to
interfere.

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9. No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on
any employee of his any charge in respect of anything done
or provided in pursuance of any of the provisions of this
Act.

10. The Minister may designate any suitably qualified
public officer as an inspector to ensure compliance with
this Act.

11. If an inspector is of the opinion that a person —
(a) is contravening any provision of this Act;
(b) has contravened one or more of those provisions

in circumstances that make it likely that the
contravention will continue or be repeated,

he may serve on him a notice (in this Act referred to as “an
improvement notice”) stating that he is of that opinion,
specifying the provision or provisions as to which he is of
that opinion, giving particulars of the reasons why he is of
that opinion, and requiring that person to remedy the
contravention or, as the case may be, the matters
occasioning it within such period (ending not earlier than
the period within which an appeal against the notice can be
brought under section 14) as may be specified in the notice.

12. (1) This section applies to any activities which
are being or are likely to be carried on by or under the
control of any person, being activities to or in relation to
which any of the relevant statutory provisions apply or
will, if the activities are so carried on, apply.

(2) If as regards any activities to which this section
applies an inspector is of the opinion that, as carried on or
likely to be carried on by or under the control of the person
in question, the activities involve or, as the case may be,
will involve a risk of serious personal injury, the inspector
may serve on that person a notice (in this Part referred to as
“a prohibition notice”).

(3) A prohibition notice shall —
(a) state that the inspector is of the said opinion;
(b) specify the matters which in his opinion give or,

as the case may be, will give rise to the said risk;
(c) where in his opinion any of those matters involve

or, as the case may be, will involve a contra-
vention of any of the relevant statutory provi-
sions, state that he is of that opinion, specify the


Duty not to
charge
employees.

Inspector.

Improvement
notices.

Prohibition
notices.

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provision or provisions as to which he is of that
opinion, and give particulars of the reasons why
he is of that opinion; and

(d) direct that the activities to which the notice
relates shall not be carried on by or under the
control of the person on whom the notice is
served unless the matters specified in the notice
in pursuance of paragraph (b) and any associated
contravention or provisions so specified in
pursuance of paragraph (c) have been remedied.

(4) A direction contained in a prohibition notice in
pursuance of subsection (3)(d) shall take effect —

(a) at the end of the period specified in the notice;
or

(b) if the notice so declares, immediately.
13. (1) In this section “a notice” means an improve-

ment notice or a prohibition notice.
(2) A notice may include directions as to the measures

to be taken to remedy any contravention or matter to which
the notice relates; and any such directions —

(a) may be framed to any extent by reference to any
approved code of practice; and

(b) may be framed so as to afford the person on
whom the notice is served a choice between
different ways of remedying the contravention
or matter.

(3) Where any of the relevant statutory provisions
applies to a building or any matter connected with a
building and an inspector proposes to serve an improve-
ment notice after consultation with the relevant building
authorities relating to a contravention of that provision in
connection with that building or matter, the notice shall not
direct any measures to be taken to remedy the
contravention of that provision which are more onerous
than those necessary to secure conformity with the
requirements of any building regulations for the time being
in force to which that building or matter would be required
to conform if the relevant building were being newly
erected unless the provision in question imposes specific
requirements more onerous than the requirements of any
such building regulations to which the building or matter
would be required to conform as aforesaid.

Provisions
supplementary to
sections 10 and
11.

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(4) In subsection (3) “the relevant building”, in the
case of a building, means that building, and, in the case of
a matter connected with a building, means the building
with which the matter is connected.

(5) Before an inspector serves in connection with
any premises other than a private dwelling used or about to
be used as a place of work a notice requiring or likely to
lead to the taking of measures of affecting the means of
escape in case of fire with which the premises are or ought
to be provided, he shall consult with the fire brigade of the
Royal Bahamas Police Force.

(6) Where an improvement notice or a prohibition
notice which is not to take immediate effect has been
served —

(a) the notice may be withdrawn by an inspector at
any time before the end of the period specified
therein in pursuance of section 11 or subsection
(4) of section 12, as the case may be; and

(b) the period so specified may be extended or
further extended by an inspector at any time
when an appeal against the notice is not pending.

14. (1) In this section “a notice” means an improve-
ment notice or a prohibition notice.

(2) A person on whom a notice is served may within
such period from the date of its service as may be
prescribed appeal to the Tribunal; and on such an appeal
the Tribunal may either cancel or affirm the notice and, if
it affirms it, may do so either in its original form or with
such modifications as the Tribunal may in the circum-
stances think fit.

(3) Where an appeal under this section is brought
against a notice within the period allowed under subsection
(2), then —

(a) in the case of an improvement notice, the
bringing of the appeal shall have the effect of
suspending the operation of the notice until the
appeal is finally disposed of or, if the appeal is
withdrawn, until the withdrawal of the appeal;

(b) in the case of a prohibition notice, the bringing
of the appeal shall have the like effect if, but
only if, on the application of the appellant the
Tribunal so directs (and then only from the
giving of the direction).

Appeal against
improvement or
prohibition
notice.

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15. (1) Where, in the case of any article or substance
found by him in any premises which he has power to enter,
an inspector has reasonable cause to believe that, in the
circumstances in which he finds it, the article or substance
is a cause of imminent danger of serious personal injury, he
may seize it and cause it to be made harmless (whether by
destruction or otherwise).

(2) Before there is made harmless under this section —
(a) any article that forms part of a batch of similar

articles; or
(b) any substance,

the inspector shall, if it is practicable for him to do so, take
a sample thereof and give to a responsible person at the
premises where the article or substance was found by him a
portion of the sample marked in a manner sufficient to
identify it.

(3) As soon as may be after any article or substance
has been seized and made harmless under this section, the
inspector shall prepare and sign a written report giving
particulars of the circumstances in which the article or
substance was seized and so dealt with by him, and shall —

(a) give a signed copy of the report to a responsible
person at the premises where the article or
substance was found by him; and

(b) unless that person is the owner of the article or
substance, also serve a signed copy of the report
on the owner,

and if, where paragraph (b) applies, the inspector cannot
after reasonable enquiry ascertain the name or address of
the owner, the copy may be served on him by giving it to
the person to whom a copy was given under paragraph (a).

16. (1) A customs officer may, for the purpose of
facilitating the exercise or performance by an inspector of
any of the powers or duties of the inspector under any of
the provisions of this Part, seize any imported article or
imported substance and detain it for not more than two
working days.

(2) Anything seized and detained under this section
shall be dealt with during the period of its detention in such
manner as the Comptroller of Customs may direct.

Power to deal
with cause of
imminent danger.

Power of customs
officer to detain
articles and
substances.

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(3) In subsection (1) the reference to two working
days is a reference to a period of forty-eight hours
calculated from the time when the goods in question are
seized but disregarding so much of any period as falls on a
Saturday, Sunday or public holiday.

17. Any person who contravenes any provision of
this Act is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on
summary conviction to a fine of five thousand dollars.

18. (1) There shall be an Advisory Council for
Health and Safety which, subject to this Act, shall be
responsible for such matters as the Minister may prescribe.

(2) The Council shall consist of a Chairman appointed
by the Minister and not less than ten other persons of
whom —

(a) three shall be appointed by the Minister after
consultation with such organizations representing
employers as he considers appropriate;

(b) three shall be appointed by the Minister after
consultation with such organizations represent-
ing employees as he considers appropriate;

(c) one shall be appointed by the Minister of Health;
(d) one shall be appointed by the Minister

responsible for Building Regulation;
(e) one shall be appointed by the Director of Fire

Services; and
(f) the inspector designated by the Minister under

section 10(1).
(3) A member of the Council, other than the

inspector, shall hold office for a period not exceeding three
years, and shall be eligible for re-appointment.

(4) The Chairman and other members of the
Council, other than the inspector, shall be paid such
remuneration (whether by way of honorarium, salary or
fee) as the Minister may determine.

(5) The Council may regulate its own proceedings.
19. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the Minister may

make regulations respecting any matter deemed necessary
or advisable to carry out the intent and purpose of this Act.

Offences.

Advisory
Council.

Regulations.

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(2) Before making any regulations under subsection
(1), the Minister shall consult the Council and such
organizations as appear to him to be representative of the
employees and the places of employment concerned.

(3) Different regulations may be made for different
places of employment.

(4) Regulations under this Act shall be subject to the
negative resolution procedure.

20. For the purpose of providing practical guidance
with respect to the requirements of any provision of the
regulations, the Minister may, after consultation with the
Council and any interested persons as he considers
advisable, approve and issue such codes of practice, or any
amendment, repeal or revision thereof, as in his opinion are
suitable for that purpose.

21. The Minister may, on the advice of the Council
and after consultation with any interested persons as he
considers advisable, exempt conditionally or otherwise any
person or class of persons from any provision of this Act,
the regulations or codes of practice, provided that the
standard of health and safety of any employee at work is
not thereby adversely affected.

22. At every place of employment where twenty or
more persons are employed, the employer shall cause a
committee to be established to be known as a health and
safety committee in accordance with regulations made
under this Act.

23. Nothing in this Act or the regulations shall
derogate from the Environmental Health Services Act, the
Buildings Regulation Act, the Town Planning Act or any
regulations made thereunder or any other Act or
regulations relating to health and safety at work, but in the
event of any conflict between this Act and any of the
aforementioned Acts or regulations, the provisions of this
Act or the regulations, as the case may be, shall, in so far
as they relate to health and safety at work, prevail.

24. All expenses incurred for the purposes of this Act
shall be defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament.

25. This Act binds the Crown.


Codes of
practice.

Exemption.

Establishment of
health and safety
committees.

Conflict with
other Acts and
savings.
Ch. 232.
Ch. 200.
Ch. 255.

Expenses.

Act binds the
Crown.