Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005

Emergencies and serious and imminent dangers.


11.—(1) Without prejudice to the generality of section 8, every employer shall, in preparing and revising as necessary adequate plans and procedures to be followed and measures to be taken in the case of an emergency or serious and imminent danger—

(a) provide the necessary measures to be taken appropriate to the place of work for first aid, fire-fighting and the evacuation of employees and any other individual present in the place of work, taking account of the nature of the work being carried on and the size of the place of work,

(b) arrange any necessary contacts with the appropriate emergency services, in particular with regard to first aid, emergency medical care, rescue work and fire-fighting,

(c) for the purposes of implementing the plans, procedures and measures referred to in this section and section 8

(i) designate employees who are required to implement those plans, procedures and measures, and

(ii) ensure that the number of those employees, their training and the equipment available to them are adequate, taking into account either or both the size of and specific hazards relating to the place of work.

(2) In the event of an emergency or serious and imminent danger, an employer shall—

(a) as soon as possible inform all employees concerned of the risk involved and of the steps taken or to be taken to protect them from it,

(b) save in exceptional cases for the reasons specified in the plans and procedures referred to in subsection (1), refrain from requiring employees to carry out or resume work where there is still a serious and imminent danger to their safety and health, and

(c) ensure that, in the absence of appropriate guidance or instruction and having regard to the knowledge of the employee and the technical means at his or her disposal, and where the employee's immediate superior responsible cannot be contacted, the employee concerned may take appropriate steps to avoid the consequences of the danger.

(3) In the event of serious, imminent and unavoidable danger, an employer shall—

(a) take action and give instructions to enable employees to either or both stop work and immediately leave the place of work and to proceed to a safe place, and

(b) ensure that an employee who leaves a place of work is not penalised because of such action.

(4) An employer shall ensure that only employees who have received appropriate instructions have access to the area of the place of work where a serious, specific danger exists.

(5) This section does not apply to the following persons when they are engaged in activities relating to civil emergencies, public order, security or an act of war where any such activity prevents compliance with this section:

(a) members of the Defence Forces;

(b) members of the Garda Síochána;

(c) employees of a fire authority (within the meaning of the Fire Services Act 1981); or

(d) persons engaged in the activities of civil protection or civil defence.