40th Anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974Category: Health & Safety | Bryan Richards | Published on: Jan 30, 2014 | Updated: Dec 12, 2016 Read more: Health & Safety
2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, arguably the most important health and safety legislation ever produced in this country.
The 1974 Act arose from an assessment by Lord Robens in 1972 that there was too much health and safety law addressing different technical situations at work. The new Act covered all workplaces for the first time and recognised that the responisibility for prevention of harm lay with those who create health and safety risk, the management and employees.
The effect of 50 years of this pivotal piece of legislation is easy to underestimate, but the facts speak for themselves. The SHP recently reported in its article ` One Small Step’ that, looking back in 2008, Lord Grocott gave this glowing review of this legislation: “Between 1974 and 2007, the number of fatal injuries to employees fell by 73 per cent; the number of reported non-fatal injuries fell by 70 per cent.
“Between 1974 and 2007, the rate of injuries per 100,000 employees fell by a huge 76 per cent, and Britain had the lowest rate of fatal injuries in the European Union in 2003, which is the most recent year for which figures are available. The EU average was 2.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers; the figure in the UK was 1.1.”
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, there has been a Government-led campaign to reduce the health and safety legislative burden on business. We are starting to see the effects of this drive. Fortunately, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 continues to stand the test of time as it remains untouched in its original text. This is indeed a testament to this legislation which has been envied by other countries.
Of course, this legislation does not provide automatic protection and there needs to be a fundamental ownership of health and safety by employers and employees. This is embedded in the Act and the original ideals of Lord Robens.
If you need help and advice in reaping the business benefits of applying the principles of the Act in your business we would be pleased to help you.Contact us
Since founding Arinite, our clients have appreciated we provide practical, no-nonsense advice about what you need to do to establish and maintain a safe and healthy working environment. My team of Health and Safety Consultants take pride in keeping health and safety simple for our clients.
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Bryan Richards 30th January 2014
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