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 “relevant requirements” of the CAWTR legislation are enforced by the CAA. These requirements cover an area of enforcement that have been traditionally led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland (HSENI) under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978.
As the CAA were already the principle regulator in all other areas of safety for the aviation industry, it was decided these requirements best sat with the CAA to ensure a consistent enforcement approach within the aircraft environment.
As the aviation industry encompasses many working environments there remains some potential overlap in the enforcement of the different pieces of health and safety legislation. Therefore to avoid potential confusion the three regulators have agreed to work closely together to separate their enforcement responsibilities, setting them out in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
It is important to note that where there is a safety conflict of interest between the requirements of CAWTR and the UK Air Navigation Order (flight safety) those relating to flight safety will take precedence.
The UK Government have directed 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.