What is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act?
Keeping your employees safe should be your number one priority at work. Whether you’re a labourer or work in an office, you need to be compliant with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act to protect your workers and adhere to legal workplace practices.
As a multi accredited Health and Safety provider for a wide range of industries and breadth of sectors, HLS Training are not only familiar with but live by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act.
We have tried to narrow down the basics below.
What is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act?
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is legislation that all workplaces in the UK must follow. It ensures all employers provide a safe working environment for their employees. This also applies to people who visit your place of work, self employed, temporary and casual workers.
What does the Health and Safety at Work etc Act cover?
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act is an extensive piece of legislation that covers all areas of health and safety at work. However, they can be bottled down to the following legal practices for employers:
- Provide a safe working environment
This covers all legislation that states you must provide your employees with safe working premises. This includes fire safety, handling and storing of harmful chemicals, cleanliness and waste management.
Workplaces with 5 or more employees must keep a written record of their health and safety policy.
- Provide safe equipment
All equipment in use at your place of work must undergo regular maintenance to ensure it’s safe for use. This ranges from smaller pieces of technology like computers to construction equipment including forklifts, cranes and scissor lifts.
- Provide all necessary facilities
Your workplace must include all necessary facilities that your workers need to use throughout their working day. Toilets, washing facilities, fresh water, heating and air conditioning are some of the facilities covered in this list.
This area of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act also states that all employees have the responsibility of keeping these facilities clean and tidy.
- Train your staff comprehensively
Your staff must be trained to a competent level to create a safe working environment. They’ll need to be trained on site at both on-the-job training and in health and safety practices like manual handling and fire safety.
- Carry out thorough risk assessments
This is the responsibility of both the employer and employee. Both must conduct thorough risk assessments of the overall job and the equipment used before engaging in a workplace activity. If a risk is found, appropriate action needs to be taken to protect employees ‘as far as is reasonably practical’.
- Appoint a trained health and safety supervisor
Every workplace must nominate a competent person to oversee the health and safety of the workforce. They are responsible for making sure all employers and employees are adhering to health and safety practices.
They should conduct routine inspections, keep an eye on day-to-day operations and attend safety training to ensure they are following the correct procedures themselves.
Who enforces Health and Safety Legislation?
The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for enforcing Health and Safety legislation but this responsibility is also handled by local authorities. They have the power to intervene if a company isn’t following Health and Safety regulations.
Amendments to the Health and Safety at Work etc Act
Personal Protective Equipment regulations (PPE) 2018
Some working environments provide a higher risk to employees than others like construction sites, waste management industries and power stations. In these environments, it is vital that employees on duty are provided with suitable PPE (personal protective equipment) to reduce the risk of harm.
A risk assessment must be conducted of the working environment to figure out which risks can’t be lowered by other safety measures.
If there are factors that would require PPE to protect workers then you would need to decide which equipment is appropriate for protection and provide this in good working condition.
It must be:
- Suitable for the task at hand
- Worn without interfering with other PPE items
- Fitted properly to the user
- Properly looked after, maintained and stored
- Compatible with replacement parts if the item has disposable parts
- Used correctly by the employee – it is the employers responsibility to make sure their workers are correctly trained on how to use PPE
All PPE equipment must ‘be CE marked in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002.’
Display Screen Equipment Regulations (DSE) 1992
DSE regulations state that employers must provide a suitable work station for employees who regularly use a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone at work. They should also: ‘protect workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE)’.
To remain compliant with DSE, employers must:
- Carry out risk assessments of DSE workstations
- Provide eye tests for free for DSE users upon request
- Reduce associated risks of DSE working like providing regular breaks and appropriate seating
- Provide DSE users with appropriate training
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act is fundamental to the coaching we provide at HLS Training. Our on-site and e-learning courses ensure you are fully equipped to support your staff in all areas of health and safety in the workplace, covering CITB training for construction workers, occupational health and safety, and Environmental Awareness Training.
Our accredited trainers are ex-labourers who have worked on site and carried out our training in practice. We know our stuff, so feel free to get in touch and we’ll answer any questions you have about our services.
Book your course today.