The Civil Aviation (Working Time) Regulations 2004 (CAWTR) implemented into UK legislation the European Council Directive 200/79/EC, commonly known as the 'Aviation Directive'. The regulations contain two core elements applying to public transport aircraft operations, one dealing with working time requirements and the other occupational health and safety rights and entitlement. They place statutory duties on UK airline operators to address these issues within aircraft.
Certain elements of the CAWTR legislation are enforced by the CAA. This is an area of enforcement that has been traditionally led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Health and SafetyExecutive of Northern Ireland (HSENI) and local authorities under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978.
The decision to make the CAA the enforcement body was because the CAA were already principle regulator in all other areas of safety for the aviation industry, therefore placing the duties with the CAA was considered the best enforcement approach for the sake of consistency.
There remains some potential overlap in the enforcement of the different pieces of health and safety legislation. Therefore the three regulators have agreed to work closely together and to separate their enforcement responsibilities, setting them out in two respective Memoranda of Understanding (MoU).
It is important to note that where there is conflict of interest between the requirements of CAWTR and the UK Air Navigation Order 2009 (flight safety) those relating to flight safety will take precedence.
The UK Government requires that CAWTR should be enforced with a 'light touch' based on a proportionate and reasonable interpretation of the regulations. It is accepted that enforcement should also be framed with an eye to a partnership approach with the various interested parties within the industry.
The policy of the CAA is, at first, to seek compliance by operators on a cooperative basis, and will only take enforcement action when the necessary cooperation or action is overdue or absent.
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