Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Forty-Sixth Report


Memorandum by the Department of the Environment,Transport and the Regions


The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following points on regulation 4 (copies of the Code to be carried on ships):

  Explain —

  (i)    whether paragraph (2)(c), is intended, like (3)(f), to require a safety representative (if elected) to keep his copy of the Code in his custody; and, if not, why not; and

  (ii)  what the disapplication of the duty to keep the safety representative's copy in his custody in a case where there is no safety representative adds to the exception to the duty contained in paragraph (3)(f) and (if intended to correspond) (2)(c).

(i)  The Secretary of State determined as a matter of policy that the safety representative (if elected) on ships with between 5 and 20 workers should not keep a copy of the Code in his custody. The Code is a loose-leaf publication to which amendments will be issued from time to time. The definition of "the Code" in regulation 2 includes revisions, so the duty on the Company in regulation 4 includes up-dating any copies of the Code it is required to carry. The shipping industry during the statutory consultation process argued that requiring every safety representative to have custody of their own copy of the Code could make the requirement to amend difficult. The Secretary of State did not accept the argument completely, but considered that on a ship with between 5 and 20 crew (ie. a limited number) the officers have heavy workloads, and it would be reasonable to allow the Company to have (if it chose) a central storage point or points for the safety representative's copies to make it easier to incorporate amendments. On larger ships this would not be practicable; partly because of the number of copies involved but also and more importantly for reasons for accessibility for the safety representatives.

(ii)  The disapplication in regulation 4(4) clarifies the position where there are safety representatives on board who are not appointed for the ship. On sea-going vessels with more than 5 workers on board regulation 17 of the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations 1997 (S.I.1997/2962) enables safety representatives to be elected from persons employed on that ship. These are representatives appointed for the ship, and it is in respect of them that the obligations on the Company in regulations 4(2)(c) and 4(3)(f) apply. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the crew may not have elected a safety representative in which case the obligation on the Company does not arise because of the words "if elected". There are however other safety representatives who may come on board a ship but are not appointed for the ship. These representatives would most likely have been appointed pursuant to the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations 1977 (S.I.1977/500) and may be employed on shore or another vessel (eg. a tug-boat). It was, following statutory consultation, felt necessary to make it clear that there was no obligation under these Regulations to provide a Code for, or ensure that there is a Code in the custody of, a safety representative who is not appointed for the ship.

The disapplication in regulation 4(4) clarifies the position where no safety officer is appointed for the ship because an exemption has been granted under regulation 15(3) of the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations 1997 (S.I.1997/2962).

23rd October 1998

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