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Health and safety at work FAQs

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions on Health and Safety at Work including key principles and training. Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive show The importance of Workplace health and Safety, they show that some 609,000 workplace injuries were recorded in 2017-18, along with 144 workplace fatalities, while a total of 1.3 million people in the UK suffer from a work-related illness.

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An Introduction to Health and Safety at Work

Health and Safety Legislation FAQs

Are safe systems of work a legal requirement?

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) 1999 state that, as part of the Hierarchy of Control, employers are legally required to put in place safe systems of work.

Is health and safety training a legal requirement?

Health and safety is part of an employers’ duty of care to employees, meaning that adequate health and safety training falls within the legal health and safety requirements.

What are the common law duties of an employee?

As an employee of any business, you have the common-law responsibility of duty of care, which is covered in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This means you need to carry out your day-to-day duties carefully and safely as to not compromise the health and safety of other employees or your employer.

What are the legal requirements for health and safety?

Employers have a legal ‘duty of care’ obligation to fulfil for all staff members, which means creating a safe working environment for all staff members as outlined in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and subsequent regulations outlined by the Health and Safety Executive. This means that employers must implement adequate health and safety measures by law in order to fulfil their obligation to any and all employees.

What are the main health and safety regulations?

The main regulations for health and safety in the UK are: the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

What are the main pieces of legislation in health and safety?

The main regulations and legislation for health and safety in the UK are: the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

What are the main points of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974?

The main parts of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 deal with defining the general duties of both employers and employees, the powers that health and safety inspectors have, what enforceable action can be taken by said inspectors, as well as how to maintain general health and safety principles in the workplace. It also covers specifics for workplaces which carry higher levels of risk, such as those that handle dangerous materials.

What does Health and Safety Act cover?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, sometimes abbreviated to HASAWA, sets out a broad range of duties and responsibilities that employers in the UK have to employees within the workplace. It states that employers must protect the health and welfare of all employees and others onsite as far as is reasonably practicable. This includes a list of actions and procedures which, if not implemented, can be enforced by the Health and Safety Executive in order to get out penalties to offending employers.

Health and Safety Legislation FAQs continued

What is Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act?

Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act outlines the duty of care that employees have for themselves and others who might be affected by their actions at work. This section is only typically invoked when an employee has been seen to endanger others at work through misuse of equipment or engaging in dangerous practices.

What is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in health and social care?

The health and safety responsibilities relating to health and social care workers centre around taking reasonable care of both yourself and other in your workplace, including any potential patients. Health and social care workers will need to follow all the relevant policies and procedures outlined by their employers, and ensure they have all the relevant training to carry out their role, including around any equipment that might be needed such as hoists, lifting apparatus, and medical devices.

What is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Main Points?

The main parts of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 deal with defining the general duties of both employers and employees, the powers that health and safety inspectors have, what enforceable action can be taken by said inspectors, as well as how to maintain general health and safety principles in the workplace. It also covers specifics for workplaces which carry higher levels of risk, such as those that handle dangerous materials.

What is the purpose of the Health and Safety at Work Act?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, sometimes abbreviated to HASAWA, is legislation which sets out a broad range of duties and responsibilities that employers have to employees within the workplace. It states that employers must protect the health and welfare of all employees and others onsite as far as is reasonably practicable. This includes a list of actions and procedures which, if not implemented, can be enforced by the Health and Safety Executive in order to get out penalties to offending employers.

What legislation covers health and safety at work?

The main regulations and legislation for health and safety in the UK are: the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

What must employees do under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974?

All workers have the responsibility to conduct their work in a manner which also upholds all health and safety practices and procedures implemented by the business as to not put other workers at risk. Any concerns around health and safety should be raised to your employers, or directly to the HSE if you believe that health and safety law is being violated. No equipment or materials should be misused or interfered with if it has been provided for your safety, or could cause harm to others. Your employer should also give you a full, detailed breakdown of your rights and responsibilities as a worker, set out by the HSE.

When did the Health and Safety at Work Act start?

The Health and Safety at Work Act was created in 1974.

Why is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 important?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is important because it helps to safeguard employees from any hazards or accidents within the workplace, as well as creating a safe environment for anyone onsite (visitors, guests, inspectors, etc.). The outlining of responsibilities and rights by the Health and Safety Executive means that certain individuals can be help accountable if anything does go wrong, meaning the appropriate actions can be taken to remedy the situation and ensure the same incident doesn’t occur again.

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Health and safety facts FAQs

What section of the Health and Safety at Work Act talks about employees responsibilities?

Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act outlines employee responsibilities in line with their duty of care to themselves and other people on-site.

How can I lift safely at work?

Poor lifting form is one of the leading causes of injury at work, so it’s important to know how to lift objects correctly. The NHS recommends planning out your lift before you start, understanding where you will be moving an object to, knowing the route and clearing any obstructions and potentially pausing halfway to rest. Adopting a stable position with a firm hold of the object is key, and you should keep your back straight while bending at your knees in order to lift with your legs. Keep your movements smooth and avoid any jerking motions which could cause strains, and lower the object down before sliding it to readjust its position if needed.

How can you keep your work environment safe?

In order to keep your work environment safe, it’s best to follow the guidelines set out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) within their ‘Safe Place of Work’ outline. This covers general points which all workplaces will need to observe, such as making sure all equipment is maintained to a safe standard and removing any obstructions, but it is also a good idea to research specifics for your type of business. Carrying out regular inspections against these points and any additional specific regulations relevant to your business will help to keep your working environment safe.

How do I complain about health and safety at work?

If you have any concerns about health and safety within your workplace then it’s best to raise them immediately with your supervisor or line manager. However, if you think there is a more serious violation of health and safety law then you can contact the Health and Safety Executive directly by filling in their concerns form.

How much can you lift safely?

How much a person can lift safely is dictated by the carrying position of the object, and can be isolated into specific safe zones which have a male-female split. This ranges from shoulder height position with 3-7kg for women and 5-10kg for men, to knuckle height with 10-16kg for women and 15-25kg for me. Before carrying out any sort of manual handling, make sure to check the weight of the object and the position you will be carrying it in to make sure it is within safe limits.

What must employers provide for employees?

Employers have a duty of care for each of their employees, meaning that they have a legal obligation to provide a safe environment for employees to conduct their day-to-day actions in, as well as providing safety equipment free of charge that is needed to perform their role.

Who is legally responsible for health and safety at work?

Ultimately, the employers of any organisation are responsible for health and safety at work as they are the ones who need to outline the health and safety practices and procedures for the business and ensure that they are implemented at every level of the company.

How often should you do fire safety training?

Whenever new staff join the business, you’ll need to ensure they’re trained on your fire safety procedures. In addition to this, if anything changes within your business which adds new risks, you will need to inform all staff of the new fire risks.

Health and safety definitions FAQs

What are four types of hazards in the workplace?

The four types of hazard in the workplace are physical hazards (slips, falls, loud noises, unguarded machinery), ergonomic hazards (strains put on the musculoskeletal system or other body parts), chemical hazards (incidents involving corrosive materials, solvents, dangerous gases, etc.) and biological hazards (incidents involving bodily fluids, bacteria, viruses, etc.). There is also a fifth type of hazard, psychosocial, which isn’t a tangible hazard but involves psychological stress due to a negative workplace environment, bullying, and other factors that can have detrimental effects on an employee’s mental health.

What does health and safety at work mean?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, sometimes abbreviated to HASAWA, is legislation which sets out a broad range of duties and responsibilities that employers have to employees within the workplace. It states that employers must protect the health and welfare of all employees and others onsite as far as is reasonably practicable. This includes a list of actions and procedures which, if not implemented, can be enforced by the Health and Safety Executive in order to get out penalties to offending employers.

What does the Health and Safety Act cover?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, sometimes abbreviated to HASAWA, sets out a broad range of duties and responsibilities that employers have to employees within the workplace. It states that employers must protect the health and welfare of all employees and others onsite as far as is reasonably practicable. This includes a list of actions and procedures which, if not implemented, can be enforced by the Health and Safety Executive in order to get out penalties to offending employers.

What is duty of care in the workplace?

Employers have a duty of care for each of their employees, making sure that their organisation does everything reasonably possible to ensure that health and safety measures are in place. While this is a legal requirement, employers should see embracing health and safety, as well as wellbeing principles, as a way to build trust between the business and its employees.

What is health and safety in the workplace?

Health and safety in the workplace is a set of rights and responsibilities that both employers and employees have in regards to keeping their working environment safe and safeguarding all employees.

What are the 5 basic workplace hazards?

The five types of hazard in the workplace are physical hazards (slips, falls, loud noises, unguarded machinery), ergonomic hazards (strains put on the musculoskeletal system or other body parts), chemical hazards (incidents involving corrosive materials, solvents, dangerous gases, etc.), biological hazards (incidents involving bodily fluids, bacteria, viruses, etc.), and psychosocial, which isn’t a tangible hazard but involves psychological stress due to a negative workplace environment, bullying, and other factors that can have detrimental effects on an employee’s mental health.

What are the 6 types of hazards in the workplace?

The five types of hazard in the workplace are physical hazards (slips, falls, loud noises, unguarded machinery), ergonomic hazards (strains put on the musculoskeletal system or other body parts), chemical hazards (incidents involving corrosive materials, solvents, dangerous gases, etc.), biological hazards (incidents involving bodily fluids, bacteria, viruses, etc.), and psychosocial, which isn’t a tangible hazard but involves psychological stress due to a negative workplace environment, bullying, and other factors that can have detrimental effects on an employee’s mental health.

What is the main purpose of health and safety?

The primary purpose of health and safety is to safeguard employees from any hazards or accidents within the workplace, as well as creating a safe environment for anyone onsite (visitors, guests, inspectors, etc.).

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General Health and Safety FAQs

How can health and safety be improved in the workplace?

You can improve health and safety within your workplace in several ways, but one of the most direct ways to address this is by conducting a full inspection of your workplace in conjunction with a registered health and safety officer to identify potential hazards that could arise in your workplace. Creating a health and safety plan which implements procedures that limit or eliminate potential risks is another key way of improving health and safety, as well as giving your employees comprehensive training on these procedures as well as the overall health and safety goals of the business. Holding regular meetings with employees where anyone can raise concerns gives you another way to understand possible health and safety issues, and you should keep records of any accidents which do happen so you can address those areas quickly and effectively.

How can you improve safety performance?

Improving safety performance in the workplace comes down to knowing and understanding the hazards within your workplace and staying constantly vigilant for potential accidents. Ensuring all staff are up-to-date on the safety procedures within your organisation with one of the most direct ways of improving safety performance, and keeping a log of any accidents or close calls will help you to address areas which need improvement.

How do you maintain health and safety at work?

In order to maintain high health and safety standards within your workplace, you will need to conduct frequent inspections of your business to ensure health and safety procedures are being implemented in day-to-day actions and that the working environment is free from hazards. Keeping a log of all accidents or potential incidents will also help you to understand where your health and safety practices can be improved.

How do you monitor health and safety at work?

Carrying out regular inspections and keeping track of any accidents on site will help you to monitor the health and safety standards of your workplace, as well as identifying any areas which would need improving.

Is HR responsible for health and safety?

Employers have an overall duty of care to employees to ensure that their workplace conforms to the legal health and safety standards, with the HR department helping to administrate, communicate, facilitate and implement certain aspects of health and safety in the workplace. This can involve things such as coordinating with external health and safety officers for office audits, onboarding employees with health and safety practices and overseeing training of employees so that the business has records of all completed training.

What are some safety tips to remember on the job?

The best safety tips to remember when you’re at work, no matter what role you’re in, are to understand the risks associated with your day-to-day responsibilities, know your company’s safety procedures, use the right protective equipment where appropriate, take regular breaks away from your workstation when possible, and raise any health and safety concerns with your manager.

What should you do if you encounter a hazard at work?

If you encounter a hazard in the workplace, you should remove it and log it if you can do safely. If it is a more serious hazard, immediately escalate it to your line manager or supervisor.

Who governs health and safety at work?

The Health and Safety Executive are responsible for overseeing the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and its implementation in all business.

General Health and Safety FAQs Continued

How can health and safety culture be improved?

Improving the health and safety culture within your business relies on the perception your employees have of health and safety practices. Having buy-in from the top level management of your organisation counts for a lot, as that will help show how important it is to the organisation as a whole. Ensure each team within your business is on board, and that safety and support are seen as core values of day-to-day operations within the business.

How do you promote health and safety at work?

Promoting a better health and safety culture within your business relies on improving the perception your employees have of health and safety practices. Getting buy-in from the top level management of your organisation can have a large impact, as that will help show how important it is to the business as a whole. Ensure each team within your organisation is on board with all procedures, and that both safety and support are seen as core values of day-to-day operations within the business.

How much should you lift at work?

How much a person should lift safely within the workplace is dictated by the carrying position of the object, and can be isolated into specific safe zones which have a male-female split. This ranges from shoulder height position with 3-7kg for women and 5-10kg for men, to knuckle height with 10-16kg for women and 15-25kg for me. Before carrying out any sort of manual handling at work, make sure to check the weight of the object and the position you will be carrying it in to make sure it is within safe limits.

How should an employer treat an employee?

Employers should treat employees with respect, ensuring that their workspace is in good condition and meets all the relevant health and safety requirements. As employers have a duty of care to their employees, this comes as a legal requirement but should also be embraced by employers as a means of raising morale and improving trust between the business and its employees.

What are employee rights and responsibilities in workplace?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that all workers are entitled to work environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled, which is the responsibility of the employer, as well as having any personal protective equipment provided free of charge. All workers have the responsibility to conduct their work in a manner which also upholds all health and safety practices and procedures implemented by the business as to not put other workers at risk. If you have been provided with materials or equipment for your safety then this should not be misused or interfered with, as this could harm others. Any concerns around health and safety you may have can be raised to your employers, or directly to the HSE if you believe that health and safety law is being violated. Your employer should also give you a full, detailed breakdown of your rights and responsibilities as a worker, set out by the HSE.

What are employees responsibilities?

All workers have the responsibility to conduct their work in a manner which also upholds all health and safety practices and procedures implemented by the business as to not put other workers at risk. Any concerns around health and safety you may have can be raised to your employers, or directly to the HSE if you believe that health and safety law is being violated. No equipment or materials should be misused or interfered with if it has been provided for your safety, or could cause harm to others. Your employer should also give you a full, detailed breakdown of your rights and responsibilities as a worker, set out by the HSE.

Why is workplace safety important?

Workplace safety is important because it helps to safeguard employees from any hazards or accidents within the workplace, as well as creating a safe environment for anyone onsite (visitors, guests, inspectors, etc.). It also creates accountability if anything does go wrong so that the appropriate actions can be taken to remedy the situation and ensure the same incident doesn’t occur again.

Why should workers follow workplace health and safety procedures?

All workers for an organisation need to follow the proper health and safety procedures implemented by the business as it creates a safe environment for everyone on-site and minimizes the risks posed by hazards and reduces the chance of accidents occurring. If a worker is found to be violating the health and safety code imposed by a business, they could be held accountable for an incident if something goes wrong.

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