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Health and Safety Regulations

Here we explain the difference between acts, legislation and regulations.
In the UK an act is made up of the primary legislation and once passed by parliament becomes the law of the land. The Health and Safety at Work Act (HASAWA) is an example of this. The 1974 act is an enabling act which allows further changes to be made without the need to go back before parliament. These are called regulations and are law.

Further to this the UK joined the European Union (EU) on the 1st January 1973 and as a result regulations also need to comply with directives passed by the European parliament.

Regulations are the detailed rules of law. They are secondary legislation. In the case of the Health and Safety at Work Act the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) was the body given responsibility to draft the regulations and enforcement through its executive arm, known as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or through the local Authority Environmental Health Officers (EHO).

On 1st April 2008 the Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive merged to form a new single regulatory body called the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The Health and Safety Executive provide approved codes of practices (ACoPs) and guidance to help employers meet the level of compliance needed to satisfy the regulations.

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