Health and Safety Legislation
Health and Safety is all about preventing people from being harmed or becoming ill through work. The aim of Health and Safety legislation is to require employers and employees to not put others or themselves in danger. The law also protects the public from workplace dangers.
Health and Safety legislation applies to all businesses, however small, and also to the self employed and employees. The law is enforced by Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or Local Authorities:
- The HSE for factories, farms and building sites.
- Local Authorities for offices, shops, hotels and catering and leisure activities.
Core Health and Safety Legislation applying to all employers
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This is the fundamental piece of Health and Safety Law under which other legislation is made. It places general duties on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all persons at work. It also places Health and Safety duties on: occupiers of buildings, contractors, manufacturers and employees. It is the key piece of legislation used in criminal prosecutions.
- Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations 1989. Employers must ensure that information relating to health, safety and welfare is given to employees through the Health and Safety Law Poster – What you should know.
- Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977. Details the requirements for the appointment and consultation with Trades Union Safety Representative and the establishment of Health and Safety Committees where requested.
- Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996. Places duties on employers to consult with employees where a Trade Union is not in place.
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Require employers to assess the Health and Safety risks to employees and others who may be affected by work activities. Arrangements must be made for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of preventive and protective measures. Employees must be informed of protective measures and the employer must appoint one or more Health and Safety competent persons.
- Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Places duties on employers or occupiers of buildings to make effective fire safety management arrangements. This includes: carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment and establishing effective arrangements for fire detection, fire protection, fire emergency, fire prevention and fire training.
- Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. This requires that all electrical systems must be constructed and maintained so as to prevent danger. All work activities must be carried out in such a manner as not to give rise to danger.
- Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. These Regulations place duties on employers to make first aid arrangements for all employees, the scale of arrangements being based on the work activities and the hazards to which employees are exposed. Employees must be informed of the first aid arrangements.
- Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. These regulations cover the need to provide a safety and healthy working environment. The areas covered include: maintenance, ventilation, temperature, lighting, space, floors and traffic routes, sanitary conveniences, drinking water and rest facilities.
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The definition of work equipment is wide ranging from hand tools to large pieces of machinery. The regulations require that work equipment is suitable, properly maintained and inspected. Persons using work equipment must be trained and given adequate information and instructions about the protection against specific hazards. Equipment must be designed so that it is safe to use and incorporate protective guarding devices where appropriate.
- Working Time Regulations 1998. These Regulations cover the maximum working hours that employees are allowed to work, together with requirements for breaks during the day and during the week.
- Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). The regulations require that specified injuries, diseases and Dangerous Occurrences are reported to the Health and Safety Executive or Local Authority.
Key Health and Safety Legislation applying to employers based on risk assessment of work activities
- Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. These Regulations cover the monitoring, management and use of asbestos containing materials.
- Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002. These Regulations cover the monitoring, management and use of lead at work.
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. These Regulations require employers to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks where employees or non-employees may be exposed to hazardous substances so that the necessary precautions to prevent harm can be identified and implemented.
- Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. These Regulations cover the use of DSE at work. The primary application is the use of computer workstations. The requirements include: the analysis of workstations, daily work routine, eyes and eyesight and the provision of training and information to users.
- Health and Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. These Regulations require that appropriate safety signs are used where a risk cannot be adequately avoided or controlled by other means.
- Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. These Regulations cover the need to assess manual handling operations and implement effective risk control measures. Risk control should first consider how the risk could be avoided and where it cannot, then risk control measures covering the load, individual, the task being carried out and the working environment.
- Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. These Regulations cover the monitoring and control of noise created by work activities.
- Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. These regulations require employers to: provide compatible, effective personal protective equipment (PPE), maintain and replace PPE and give information, instruction and training on the use of PPE.
Other Health and Safety Regulations which may apply include:
- Chemicals (Hazard Information for Packaging and Supply) Regulations 2002.
- Confined Spaces Regulations 1997.
- Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM) 2007.
- Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 1999.
- Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.
- Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002.
- Gas Safety (Management) Regulations 1996.
- Highly Flammable Liquids and Liquefied Petroleum Gasses Regulations 1972.
- Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999.
- Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.
- Lifts Regulations 1997.
- Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000
- Simple Pressure Vessels (Safety) Regulations 1991.
- Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008.
- Work at Height Regulations 2005.