The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations were made to enforce the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and provide employers with a set of duties which help maintain a happy, healthy and safe workplace.
The duties imposed on employers include:
- The need to carry out Risk Assessments to ensure the safety of their employees or anyone else who may be affected by their work. If they employ 5 or more people, then any significant findings need to be written and recorded;
- To always apply and adhere to the General Principles of Prevention, sometimes known as the Hierarchy of Risk Control
Hierarchy of Risk Control
- To avoid risks, where possible;
- To evaluate the risks which can’t be avoided using a risk assessment;
- To combat risks at their source – for example, removing slippery surfaces rather than just putting up warning signs;
- To adapt work to the individual worker – this means adapting the equipment and working methods with a view to alleviate monotonous and repetitive work;
- To adapt to technical progress. As technology develops, it’s important to take advantage of new ways of working safely;
- To replace dangerous things with non-dangerous (or less dangerous) alternatives. Swapping a toxic substance for a non-toxic substitute, for example;
- To develop a coherent prevention policy which covers technology, organisation of work, working conditions, social relationships, and the influence of factors relating to the working environment;
- To give collective protection priority over personal protection; and
- To always provide appropriate safety instructions to employees.
Employer Responsibilities continued...
- To make sufficient arrangements to cover the “effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring, and review” of health and safety. This includes establishing a system of checks and inspections of equipment and processes;
- To undertake health surveillance where necessary. This is a system of regular health checks in order to detect, early-on, ill-health due to certain working conditions – things like noise, vibration, solvents, dust etc.;
- To appoint competent people, preferably from within the organisation, to oversee, supervise, and assist in all matters of health and safety – including training;
- To establish emergency procedures and make sure these are communicated to all employees – including how and when to contact the emergency services;
- To provide employees with all the necessary safety information in a comprehensible, easily understood way;
- To never give individual employees tasks which are beyond their level of competence or physical ability.
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Though the regulations are largely aimed at employers, they do provide employees with certain duties, including:
- To report any faults, problems, concerns, or inadequacies regarding workplace health & safety arrangements – including broken, ill-fitting, or inefficient protective clothing;
- To always report any dangerous situations, incidents, and accidents;
- To always follow the instructions and use the safety equipment provided properly;
- To always take reasonable care of their own safety and the safety of anyone affected by their work.
Other Relevant Legislation
This Act is the main piece of legislation that governs health and safety in the UK. It is enforced by the HSE alongside local authorities. It assigns a range of duties to the employer including the duty to ‘ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees’.
This legislation was provided to give a minimum level of fire safety in properties with a few exceptions. If the premises is a workplace it designates the employer the Responsible Person (RP) if the workplace is under his/her control.
You are required by law to report any serious workplace incidents, including deaths, major injuries, ‘7-day injuries’, work-related diseases and ‘near miss’ accidents to RIDDOR.
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