1. This notice explains HSE's role in the enforcement of the Working Time Regulations (WTR) in the offshore sector
2. The Working Time Regulations 1998 are extended offshore by the Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2003. The amended Regulations came into force on 1 August 2003. WTR deal with terms and conditions of employment and are made by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (formerly Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)).
3. The Regulations introduce a maximum working time limit of 48 hours per week averaged over a prescribed reference period. Offshore this reference period is 52 weeks. The Regulations, however, allow for employer/employee agreements whereby the 48 hour maximum, subject to certain conditions, can be extended.
4. The Regulations also introduce employment entitlements. Employment entitlements include annual leave, time off, work-breaks and rest periods.
5 HSE will enforce the working time limits offshore on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. However, any investigation or subsequent enforcement action will be done on a ‘reactive’ basis only, ie where HSE receive complaints with regard to working in excess of the 48-hour weekly limit. This will include checking any local employer/employee agreements, where there is a departure from the 48-hour limit, to ensure such agreements do not prejudice health and safety. See references below for further information.
6 General help and advice on working time matters can be sought through the Acas Helpline Online or the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100 Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm. HSE does not enforce the employment entitlements described above. Entitlements are enforced through employment tribunals. The Employment Tribunals Service can be contacted on 0300 123 1024.
7 HSE is not responsible for enforcing the Regulations in respect of seafarers (including HLV's, WSV's etc). They are covered by separate regulations for which the MCA is the enforcing authority.
Any queries concerning this notice should be addressed to:Health and Safety Executive
This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance is not compulsory and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance as illustrating good practice