The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering work-related health and safety in the United Kingdom. It sets out a lot of your employer’s responsibilities for your health and safety at work.
The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for enforcing health and safety at work.
Your employer has a 'duty of care' to look after, as far as possible, your health, safety and welfare while you are at work. They should start with a risk assessment to spot possible health and safety hazards.
They have to appoint a 'competent person' with health and safety responsibilities. This is usually one of the owners in smaller firms, or a member of staff trained in health and safety in larger businesses.
For businesses employing five or more people, there must also be:
• an official record of what the assessment finds (your employer has to put plans in place to deal with the risks)
• a formal health and safety policy, including arrangements to protect your health and safety (you should be told what these are)
• report certain accidents, injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences to either the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or the local authority, depending on the type of business.
Making the workplace safe and healthy
So that the work premises provide a safe and healthy place to work, your employer should:
• make sure that workplaces are properly ventilated, with clean and fresh air
• keep temperatures at a comfortable level - a minimum of 13 degrees C where the work involves physical activity or 16 degrees C for 'sedentary' workplaces eg offices but there's no maximum limit
• light premises so that employees can work and move about safely
• keep the workplace and equipment clean
• ensure that workrooms are big enough to allow easy movement with at least 11 cubic metres per person
• provide workstations to suit the employees and the work
• keep the workplace and equipment in good working order
• make floors, walkways, stairs, roadways etc safe to use
• protect people from falling from height or into dangerous substances
• store things so they are unlikely to fall and cause injuries
• fit openable windows, doors and gates with safety devices if needed
• provide suitable washing facilities and clean drinking water
• if necessary, provide somewhere for employees to get changed and to store their own clothes
• set aside areas for rest breaks and to eat meals, including suitable facilities for pregnant
women and nursing mothers
• let employees take appropriate rest breaks and their correct holiday entitlement
• make sure that employees who work alone, or off-site, can do so safely and healthily
Aug 14, 2012 03:21 AM