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Know the law. Don't get caught out!


This is a good place to start if you don't know what your legal obligations are as an employer, or if you want to find out a bit more about the benefits of training your staff. 

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 , also referred to as HASAW or HSW, is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in the United Kingdom. The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for enforcing the Act and a number of other Acts and Statutory Instruments relevant to the working environment.

The full text of the Act is available to purchase from the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) . It can also be downloaded free of charge from www.hse.gov.uk.

Every employer and employee has a duty of care. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 set out the essential aspects of First Aid that employers have to address. There is a legal requirement to report and document accidents and ill health at work. Serious accidents and illnesses are reportable under RIDDOR which is the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. You need to report the following to the HSE (Health & Safety Executive).

Major Injuries
Accidents resulting in over 3 days absence
Dangerous Occurrences
Gas Incidents

What duties do I have to train my staff?

Several pieces of legislation refer to the training of staff, in particular the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. Risk assessment plays an essential role in identifying training and development needs.

Typically an organisation may need to consider

  • General Health and Safety 
  • Fire
  • First Aid
  • Manual handling
  • Display screen equipment
  • Other specialist areas

Do I need a health and safety policy?

The Health and Safety at Work Act imposes a duty on every employer of five or more persons to prepare and bring to the notice of employees a written statement of general policy with respect to their health and safety at work.

How can I keep up dated on changes?

Health and safety legislation is reviewed, changed and updated on a regular basis. You will find useful information on the HSE on www.hse.gov.uk  Furthermore the HSE or your local Environmental Health Department can provide useful information.

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