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Health and Safety at Work Act

Here we give a summary of the Health And Safety At Work Act 1974 concentrating on employers duties (section 2) and  the duty of every employee (section 7).
To ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all employees.

Section 2:
It shall be the duty of every employer to:
  • Provide a safe place to work
  • Provide safe plant that is properly maintained.
  • Ensure that articles and substances are used, handled, stored and transported in a way that is safe and with out risk to health.
  • Provide information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure the health and safety of everyone at work.
  • Provide and maintain a safe and healthy environment.
  • Ensure that welfare arrangements and facilities are adequate for the employees at work.
Section 7:
It shall be the duty of every employee to:
  • Make themselves familiar with and conform to the safety and health program at all times.
  • Observe all safety rules at all times.
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment and use appropriate safety devices at all times.
  • Conform to all instruction given by the safety officer and others with responsibility for health and safety.
  • Report all accidents and near misses whether persons are injured or not.
  • Make suggestions to improve health and safety in the company to management or the safety representative.
  • Report all hazards to company management or the safety representative.
The Act is enforced by the HSE or the Local Authority – the Act gives wide ranging powers to inspectors and they can serve two types of enforcement notices:

Improvement – Identifies a contravention and specifies a date by which the situation can be sorted out – an appeal can be made within 21 days during which period the notice is suspended.

Prohibition – immediate close down of an activity which the inspector feels could lead to a serious personal injury – an appeal can be lodged but the notice stays in place during the appeal process.

The 1974 act is an enabling act which allows the secretary of state to make further laws without the need to pass another act of parliament – these are called regulations and are law.

Regulations identify hazards and risks setting out specific action that should be taken. Existing regulations are updated and a recent example is the noise regulations where the first and second action levels have been reduced which will have a major impact on the entertainments industry from April 2008.

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