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Health and safety at work act 1974


Before 1974 approximately 8 million employees had no legal safety protection at work.
HASAWA 74 provides the legal framework to promote, stimulate and encourage high standards of health and safety in places of work. It protects employees and the public form work activities.
Everyone has a duty to comply with the Act, including employers, employees, trainees, self-employed, manufacturers, suppliers, designers, importers of work equipment.

Employers' Responsibilities

The Act places a general duty to "ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees".

Employers must comply with the Act. They must:

  • Provide and maintain safety equipment and safe systems of work.
  • Ensure materials used are properly stored, handled, used and transported.
  • Provide information, training, instruction and supervision. Ensure staff are aware of instructions provided by manufacturers and suppliers of equipment.
  • Provide a safe place of employment.
  • Provide a safe working environment.
  • Provide a written safety policy/risk assessment.
  • Look after health and safety of others, example public.
  • Talk to safety representatives.

An employer is forbidden to charge his/her employees for any measures which he/she is required to provide in the interests of health and safety, example,. Personal protective equipment.

Employers' Responsibilities

Employees have specific responsibilities too. They must:

  • Take care of their own health and safety and that of other persons. Employees may be liable.
  • Co-operate with their employers.
  • Must not interfere with anything provided in the interest of health and safety.

Enforcement of Health and Safety Legislation

For your type of business the Local Authority EHO (Environmental Health Officer) will be your enforcement officer. For manufacturing/large construction or industrial sites the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) carry out inspections.

The powers of an inspector include:

  • Rights of entry at reasonable times, etc. without appointments.

  • Right to investigate, examine.

  • Right to dismantle equipment, take substances/equipment.
  • Right to see documents, take copies.
  • Right to assistance (from colleagues or Police).
  • Right to ask questions under caution.
  • Right to seize articles/substances in cases of imminent danger.

Enforcement of Health and Safety Legislation

1. 1 Legal Notices - Written document requires person to do/stop doing something.

  1. Improvement: say what is wrong and how to put right within a set time.
  2. Prohibition: prohibits use of equipment/unsafe practices immediately.

2. 2. Prosecution - Both employers and employees face prosecution.

  1. Maximum £5000 in Magistrates' Court
  2. Unlimited fine and jail in Crown Court.

Provision & use of work equipment regulations 1998

All people using work equipment must be trained, including the methods of using equipment, any risks and precautions to be taken.

Supervisors and managers of work equipment must be trained, including the methods of using the equipment, any risks and precautions to be taken.

Where there is a risk of anyone on the machine being crushed by its rolling over, a suitable restraining system must be fitted (such as a seat belt).

Lifting operations & lifting equipment regulations 1998

Thorough examination and inspection by a competent person

- every 6 months when used for lifting persons.

- every 12 months for other lifting equipment.

Approved code of practice

All operator courses should consist of at least 80 % practical content.

The ideal course ratio is 1 truck: 1 instructor: 2 trainees and should never exceed 1 truck: 1 instructor: 3 trainees.

There are 3 main parts of training.

1) Basic training – The basic skills and knowledge for safe operations.
2) Specific job training – Knowledge of work place and experience of any special needs or handling attachments.
3) Familiarisation training – Operation on the job under close supervision.

Basic training and specific job training should be carried out off the job.

Only when all three elements of training have been completed should employers issue written authorisation to operators. This is only valid at this employment and only for the trucks and areas stated on the authorisation.

Qualified/registered forklift truck instructors should only instruct trainees on the types of lift trucks they are qualified to operate them selves.

All lift truck operators should have a medical screening assessment at 45 years of age and then every 5 years there after. Up to 65 where an assessment should take place every year after 65.

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