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A Quick Guide to Health & Safety Regulations

Nobody should ever expect to go to work and never return. Similarly, your place of work should never leave you feeling depressed, stressed, or battling mental health issues. Health and Safety regulations in the United Kingdom make sure that wherever you work, and no matter what you do, you’re protected.

But where do these Health and Safety regulations come from? Are they legal acts? What are the most significant regulations? And what are both you and your employer responsible for while you work? In today’s article, we answer all of these questions, while explaining how the Safety Maintenance Company can help with all of your health and safety training needs.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in the United Kingdom. It “includes the main pieces of regulation which are integral to managing health and safety at work.”

It’s an Act of Parliament that outlines the framework for managing workplace health and safety in the United Kingdom. It sets out the general duties which:

  • Employers have towards employees and members of the public
  • Employees have to themselves and to each other
  • Certain self-employed have towards themselves and others

Health and Safety Guidance, Approved Codes of Practice, and Regulations all derive from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Although it’s an Act of Parliament, The Health and Safety Executive are the governmental body employed to enforce workplace health and safety legislation in the United Kingdom.

For now, we’re only going to look at some of the most important Health and Safety Regulations.

Guidance, Approved Codes of Practice, and Regulations

Unfortunately, this is where it can get a little bit confusing. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 includes an awful lot of important information. But we’re only going to focus on the Regulations – so what about the Guidance and the Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP)?

The main purpose of Guidance is to:

  • Help people understand what the law says
  • Help people comply with the law
  • Give technical advice

ACOP, on the other hand, “offer practical examples of good practice.” They suggest the best way to comply with the law so far as is reasonably practical. These ACOPs have a special legal status.

Significantly, Regulations are law. This means that they have been approved by Parliament. Regulations created under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 identify all workplace risks and outline specific action that must be taken.

These are the most common regulations:

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

This Regulation outlines the need for employers to make risk assessments in the workplace. Managers must assess the health and safety of their workforce, and act upon the identified risks.

It also covers appointing competent people to manage and control workplace health and safety, and provide information and training on health and safety.

The Workplace (Healthy, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

This Regulation applies to almost every single workplace. It covers common working conditions such as ventilation, lighting, heating, and staff facilities, including toilets, ensuring that they meet the safety standard required.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
This Regulation tends to concern office workers. Those who ‘habitually’ use a computer need to make sure that their computing arrangement is safe, and that there is no impact on the user’s health.

A risk assessment of the work station, eyesight tests, and adjustable furniture are just a few of the requirements of the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regulation.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

Anybody working outdoors or in work yards needs to make sure that they’re wearing the appropriate clothing. This Regulation ensures that staff wear suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) wherever risks to health and safety can’t be controlled in any other way. This includes overalls, ear protectors, gloves, and more.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

The main outcome of this Regulation is for employers to avoid (as far as reasonably practical) any manual handling activity that could result in injury. This includes making a risk assessment before beginning any activity and providing workers with all the information they need about the load.

These are only five of the many Health and Safety Regulations that dominate workplaces throughout the United Kingdom. As you can already tell, Health and Safety is a significant and complex workplace issue. You need to make sure that your workplace is complying with these many regulations.

Contact our team to find out how we can help with any Health and Safety training and how we can get your management team and staff up-to-date with all the latest legal requirements. Workplace Health and Safety can be overwhelming – The Safety Maintenance Company keep it all simple and safe for you and your workplace.