Posted on May 5th 2017.
As an employer, it is very important that you are meeting the regulations of the workplace. Failing to do so will end with harsh consequences and you could be putting your employees at risk.
This is a guide explaining the main healthy and safety regulations that apply to all employers and workplaces and what you need to be following as an employer.
The Health and Safety Executive is the body of UK government responsible for making sure all of the correct health and safety regulations are in place. They also provide advice on issues regarding health and safety and they research into how effective the regulations are and issues that need to be addressed.
The Health and Safety at Work Act is the foundation of the health and safety legislation in the UK. Employers have a duty to comply with the standard for health, safety and welfare in the workplace.
The Act also ensures the maintenance and safe use of equipment, appropriate training for staff and safe access to the workplace. Employers must have a written health and safety policy that is accessible to employees and has been consulted and read through with them.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations have been put in place to ensure a safe and suitable workspace for employees and to make sure there are no threats or risks of danger.
These regulations cover many different aspects of the working environment. This includes making sure there is drinking water and washing facilities, correct lighting, temperature and ventilation, enough space to work in and the general maintenance of the workplace including equipment, systems and devices.
There must also be staff facilities for changing and to take break and eat, as well as ensuring the safety and cleanliness of windows, floors and doors, etc.
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations have been put in place to look after workers who use display screens for more than an hour at a time.
As part of these regulations, it is an employer’s job to make sure the users take breaks after long periods of using screens and make a risk assessment of the workstation and identify any risks. It is also there to provide regular eyesight tests, adjustable furniture to make the employee comfortable and to make sure all the correct health and safety information was available.
Employers must also have procedures in place to reduce risks like repetitive strain injury, which is common with DSE work.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations have been put in place to ensure that the correct protective equipment is available to employees to reduce risk.
These regulations state that employers must have suitable personal protective equipment provided depending on what line of work they are doing and to prevent any risks to health and safety. The PPE includes safety helmets, gloves, protective facemasks and goggles, overalls, protective footwear and ear defenders.
The correct training and instruction of how to use this equipment must also be provided, failing to do so can lead to employees incorrectly using the PPE and therefore violating the health and safety regulations.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations have been put in place to avoid (where possible) any manual handling that could present risk of injury to employees.
The main responsibilities of an employer are to reduce the risk of injury due to heavy manual lifting or handling. The risks can be reduced by making multiple assessments; considering the task at hand and the weight of the load. This must also take into account the person who is undergoing the task and their physical attributes.
Employers need to have information on how to correctly lift and handle the workload in order to meet these regulations.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations have been put in place to ensure any work related injuries or incidents are reported and noted down.
These regulations, also known as RIDDOR make sure the employer is informed and reports any major injuries, work-related diseases or even work-related deaths. This also includes dangerous occurrences, which could be classed as near misses or incidents that were very nearly fatal.
Major injuries may include injuries from electric shock, eye injuries, fractures or amputations.
You can report incidents to the Incident Contact Centre by calling 08453009923 or online via the HSE’s RIDDOR report webpage.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations have been put in place to provide maintenance of work equipment to be able to complete the task without risking health and safety.
You must make sure all of the equipment in your facility is being properly maintained, ensuring it all runs smoothly and does not provide any risks to the employees.
The appropriate information and procedures on how to correctly handle equipment must be provided to employees to protect them from injuring themselves or damaging the equipment.
The Working Time Regulations have been put in place to ensure employees have the right to rest breaks and annual leave, as well as a restriction on the hours they can work.
These regulations make it so that the maximum amount of hours an employee can work in one week is 48 hours. If they are made to work anymore than 48 hours, they are in violation of these regulations. The only way around this is for the employee to volunteer to work over and you need this in writing.
This also covers the gap between shifts, which is a minimum of 11 hours and that employees are to have a 20-minute break after every six hours of work.
In regards to workers aged 15-18, the regulations state that they are entitled to a 30-minute break after working over 4 and a half hours, 2 days off each week and there has to be a 12 hour gap between shifts.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations have been put in place to make sure employers are assessing and managing any risks to their employees at their workplace.
It is also their duty to ensure the health and safety of the workplace, making sure there are procedures in place for emergencies, training for employees and health surveillance. This means the employees must follow the training and instructions they have been given and report any danger or breaking of the health and safety legislation.
They must appoint people to oversee workplace health and safety and operate a written health and safety policy so it is clear to all employees.
These are the main health and safety regulations that need to be implemented into any workplace. They are rules that must be followed and ensure the safety of the employees and workspace. It’s your responsibility to make it happen.
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