Reasonable practicability

A health and safety briefing provided by the IET.

The UK Health and Safety at Work Act leads to legislation made under the Act that may be absolute or qualified by expressions such as the need for duty holders to ensure “reasonable practicability”. (So Far As is Reasonably Practicable -SFAIRP or As Low As is Reasonably Practicable - ALARP).

It is important to understand that in this case the word practicable is used in a legal sense. It should not be confused with the rather vague term practical, meaning “able to be used in real life”. Practicable infers a statuary obligation that has to be carried out if, in the light of current knowledge it is feasible, irrespective of cost or difficulty. This is often simplified to “if it can be done, it must be done”.