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djupnorth  
#1 Posted : 31 March 2018 14:26:51(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
djupnorth

Can anybody who is studying for one of the NEBOSH qualifications give me a definition for 'so far as is practicable' and a reference of where that definition comes from?

Many thanks.

DJ

George_Young  
#2 Posted : 01 April 2018 15:45:53(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
George_Young

From HSE

http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/theory/alarpglance.htm

djupnorth  
#3 Posted : 02 April 2018 08:31:43(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
djupnorth

George,

Thank you for the link, but I am looking for 'practicable' not 'reasonably practicable'.

Many thanks.

DJ

peter gotch  
#4 Posted : 02 April 2018 09:43:06(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

DJ

Not got the right reference book to hand so cannot immediately pick out the case law distinguishing between what is practicable and what is reasonably practicable - note that when it comes to the latter HSE tend to try and conveniently ignore the case law that doesn't suit them!

In essence what is practicable is what is technically feasible in the light of current knowledge and invention, ie variables such as cost do not come into the equation.

chris.packham  
#5 Posted : 02 April 2018 10:12:26(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris.packham

Perhaps relevant to note that this does not apply always with COSHH, where the requirement is to 'adequately control' exposure to chemicals. However, COSHH does not provide any quantitative guidance as to what is meant by 'adequate control' when it comes to skin exposure, merely providing vague statements such as 'best practice', etc.

Ian Bell2  
#6 Posted : 03 April 2018 07:38:32(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

Can't remember which case law the term 'practicable' comes from - my Diploma is too long ago.

However, as other have said 'practicable' is usually used to describe the legal standard around technical subjects.

The main application that comes to mind is in the guarding of damgerous parts of machinery - PUWER Reg 11 - 2 (a) (b) (c).

It often catches h&s people out, that machine guarding is 'reasonably practicable' it is NOT. Legally the required duty is 'practicable'. In theory a highe legal standard. As has been pointed out the HSE can be choosy as reqards using case law principles.

matelot1965  
#7 Posted : 03 April 2018 18:23:33(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
matelot1965

Practicable requirements imply that If in the light of current knowledge and invention it is feasible to comply with the requirements then they must be complied with irrespective of the cost or sacrifice involved With a practicable requirement if something is technically possible it must be complied with. This therefore places a higher duty of care than that required by “ so far as is reasonably practicable”

Relevant case law is that of Adsett v K&L steel founders Ltd 1953

Hope this helps

Edited by user 03 April 2018 18:24:31(UTC)  | Reason: Incorrect spelling

A Kurdziel  
#8 Posted : 04 April 2018 10:48:02(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

‘Practicable’ generally means that it can be done, rather than it should be done taking into account other factors (time expense etc.) which is the test for ‘reasonably practical’. Another example of case law is Marshall vs Gotham Co Ltd [1954] AC 300, HL. A worker in mine was killed when a piece of rock (a ‘marl’) fell from the ceiling. It was an unexpected intrusion and using the technology then current, the courts ruled that there was no way for the mine operator to have detected this geological fault and to have taken action to prevent the death. Had they been able to detect it they would have had to have taken steps to prevent this accident, irrespective of how much it might have cost them in time effort, etc.

thanks 1 user thanked A Kurdziel for this useful post.
WatsonD on 05/04/2018(UTC)
WatsonD  
#9 Posted : 05 April 2018 13:17:13(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
WatsonD

I think A Kurdziel has found the specific case law which suits your purpose best, however, in order to be able to clearly explain the term practicable it might help to put it into context with other levels of duty, of which there are three:

  1. Absolute requirements, where the duty is qualified by "shall" without any other word or phrase to lower the standard. This can be seen in Regulation 4(1), PUWER Regs 1998: "Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is to be used or provided." This means every employer must comply with this duty regardless of costs, etc. involved.
  2. Practicable requirements imply that if, in the light of current knowledge and invention, it is feasible to comply with these requirements, irrespective of cost or sacrifice, then such requirements must be complied with. In the case of Adsett v K&L Steelfounders Ltd it was  found:- "With a  practicable requirement, if something is technically possible then it should be done".
  3. Reasonably practicable requirements imply a lower or lesser level of duty meaning a Risk v Cost analysis must be carried out, so spending £100 on plastic paperclips to prevent the two minor cuts a year would not be reasonably practicable.

However, in the event of a prosecution for an offence which contains one of these three phrases the burden of proof is with the defendant.

thanks 2 users thanked WatsonD for this useful post.
SNS on 06/04/2018(UTC), hilary on 19/04/2018(UTC)
matelot1965  
#10 Posted : 05 April 2018 22:34:53(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
matelot1965

Just to add to the thread is there anything within current H+S legislation that is subject to a qualified duty of practicable ? I cannot think of any
Ian Bell2  
#11 Posted : 06 April 2018 08:16:23(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

As previously posted - machinery safety/guarding is 'practicable'

SOme elements of the Electricity at Work Regs are 'shall' - not quantified by 'practicable' or 'reasonably practicable' - i.e. you will do

thanks 1 user thanked Ian Bell2 for this useful post.
matelot1965 on 06/04/2018(UTC)
matelot1965  
#12 Posted : 06 April 2018 16:14:05(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
matelot1965

Thanks Ian - every day is a school day

Cheers Derek
djupnorth  
#13 Posted : 17 April 2018 18:47:44(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
djupnorth

Thank you for the help and particularly the case.

DJ

Doug32  
#14 Posted : 18 April 2018 08:55:43(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Doug32

On my NEBOSH the lecturer basically described it as: "If it can be done, it should be done" 

Absolute - must be done

Practicable - if it can be done, it should be done

Reasonably practicable - balance of the negatives vs goal/ aim and benefits. If the cost and risk outweighs the benefits, then it probably isn't worth doing. And vice versa. 

Not the definition per se; but laymans terms makes it easier to understand. 

Edited by user 18 April 2018 10:39:31(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

jamiehoyle  
#15 Posted : 19 April 2018 08:47:51(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
jamiehoyle

As per the Court of Appeal:

"the term 'reasonably practicable' is a narrower term than 'physically possible'...a computation must be made by the owner in which the quantum of risk is placed on one scale and the sacrifice involved in the measures necessary for averting the risk (whether in money, time or trouble) is placed on the other, and that, if it be shown that there is a gross disproportion between them - the risk being insignificant in relation to the sacrifice - the defendants discharge the onus on them"

When choosing what safety measures to put in place, you need to show that you are doing all that is reasonably practicable. What price do you put on a person's sight, hearing...or their life?

Though haviong read the OP question again, I see that reasonably is not part of the question!

Edited by user 19 April 2018 08:51:21(UTC)  | Reason: Re-reading OPs question!

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