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What the Law Says
Find out about health and safety laws and legislation that apply to you with our selection of the common used today

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Find out more about The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 with the esafetysigns overview:

  • Introduction
  • Employers' Responsibilities
  • Employees' Responsibilities
  • Enforcement of Health and Safety Legislation
  • Enforcement Action
  • Regulations
  • Usefull Links
    The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, sometimes referred to as HASAWA 74, is the fundamental piece of health and safety legislation in the UK.

    The act is the foundation of today's health and safety regulations and codes of practise and forms the basis for other regulations which focus on specific areas.
    Hasawa Framework Image
    For example, The COSHH, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, Regulations is almost a seamless transition from HASAWA in its underlying objectives, however COSHH only attempts to regulate chemicals and substances, and say, doesn't delve into the conrol of electicity and electrical systems, (Electricity at Work Regulations 1989), which is founded in HASAWA 74.

    For most of us, our contact with the regulations will be through the official summarised user friendly form of the "Health and Safety Law Poster" below. It is a legal requirement to display this poster in the workplace, and completed in compliance with the guidelines of the HSE.
    The Health and Safety Law Poster
    The Health and Safety Law Poster
    The new 2009 official HSE "What You Should Know" Health and Safety at Work Law poster changed on the 6th April 2009.
    The Old Health and Safety Law Poster This supercedes the old poster but does NOT replace it. Existing copies of the old poster are perfectly aceptable. The new poster is recommended for new and future purchases.
    HASAWA 74 places a general duty on; employers, manufacturers, people in control of premises and employees and forms the framework for all subsequent regulations.

    The Act is in 4 parts;

    I Covers general duties, the HSC and HSE, the power to make regulations and Codes of Practice, enforcement and penalties.
    II Establishes the Employment Medical Advisory Service.
    III Relates to Building Regulations.
    IV Covers various amendments and other general issues.

    It is extensive in its detailing and you can read a significant part of it here:

    Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

    We will cover, only, the main and most useful provisions of Part I, simplied as follows;
    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". This duty of care must also provide for members of the public, workplace visitors, contractors, and all/any persons who might be affected by workplace activities.

    If you employ 5 or more people you must, by law, have a written statement of your health and safety policy. This should be your own statement, specific to your firm, setting out your general policy for protecting the health and safety of your employees at work and the organisation and arrangements for putting that policy into practice.

    Health and Safety Policy examples >>>

    General duties of employers to their employees:

  • provide and maintain safe plant, equipment and systems of work.
  • ensure correct and safe; storage, handling, transportation and use of substances and material
  • provide information, training, and supervision to ensure staff are aware of instructions provided by manufacturers and the suppliers of equipment, material or any other utility.
  • provide a safe and well-maintained workplace, including safe access and egress.
  • provide a safe working environment with adequate welfare facilities.
  • declare a statement showing the policy on safety and the organisation including arrangements put in place to ensure the general policy is carried out. The employer must ensure that all employees are aware of the latest policy.
  • introduce and facillitate the use of safety representatives, teams and/or committees and involve them in the arrangements to uphold the safety policy to acceptable and/or legislated standards.
  • not charge employees for any arrangements required in the interests of health and safety.

    Employees Responsibilities
    The act places a general duty upon employees so far as it shall be the duty of every employee while at work:

  • to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work.
  • to co-operate with their employer so that they comply with all their legal duties.
  • not to interfere with or misuse anything that has been provided for health and safety reasons.

    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 the:

  • 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 Action
    Enforcement action may arise in one of the following ways:

    1 Legal Notices - Written document requires person to do/stop doing something...
  • improvement: say what is wrong and how to put right within a set time.
  • prohibition: prohibits use of equipment/unsafe practices immediately.
    2 Prosecution - Both employers and employees face prosecution...
  • maximum 5000 in Magistrates' Court
  • unlimited fine and jail in Crown Court.

    There is a broad spectrum of regulations. Follow this link and scroll down the page to see the main ones.....

    HASAWA 74 Regulations ....
    Usefull Links
    Further usefull reading can be found here ....

    HSE - HASAWA 1974 H&S at Work Act 74

    How to complete the H&S Law Poster
    Tell us what you want or would like and we'll design it...
    BS5499 recommends avoiding excessive signage...
    Have a go for yourself with our selection of test sample products, absolutely free!
    Find a label stockist near you ...
    Essential Fire Safety posters ....


    Tell us what you want or would like and we'll design it...
    BS5499 recommends avoiding excessive signage...





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