Health and Safety Legal Requirements
In the workplace, health and safety requirements are outlined by the Health And Safety at Work Act. Over the course of the last century, various individual acts have been introduced to ensure that people across the country remain safe. Many of these acts pertain to specific workplaces, but are also designed to protect the general public. Health and Safety Law and the guidelines supporting it is monitored and regulated by the Health and Safety Executive.
Health and Safety Risk Assessments
One of the largest areas of health and safety that underpins the overall topic is risk assessments. As the title suggests, risk assessments are designed to assess and address risks wherever possible. This is required in all workplaces, and is also implemented in areas of life like medical care, school trips, and university society activities. Risk assessments are carried out for the benefit of those working within organisations, as well as those who come into contact with them.
Ideally, a risk assessment will be performed before the risk arises. For example, a nurse who is caring for an elderly patient will assess the risks that they face while in their care. The nurse may decide that the patient is at risk of experiencing falls. When this risk is identified, she will then put a solution in place. This approach extends to multiple workplaces, and is designed to prevent people from becoming injured. The aim of any risk assessment procedure is to minimise the risks present, not to attempt to eliminate them altogether.
Sometimes it is the case that an incident has occurred, and the risk needs to be assessed and addressed afterwards. Using the patient analogy again, this could arise if the elderly patient has fallen over and injured their hip. If that has happened, the nurse and their medical colleagues must assess why it happened, and implement a measure that prevents it from happening again.
Finally, data must be collected on risk assessments. This is used to form guidelines and procedures that minimise problems in the future. Those who wish to carry out a risk assessment can obtain relevant forms and guidelines from the Health and Safety Executive, which should be specific to the area they are assessing.
Other Health and Safety Legal Requirements
Any individual or corporation in charge of a workplace or an area where the public will be present has a responsibility to follow health and safety legal requirements. Some of these requirements may be quite obvious. For example, it is necessary to have a planned fire safety procedure, as well as adequate first aid supplies. Employers also have a responsibility to ensure that their employees well-being is catered for. For example, they need to make sure that they are free from physical injuries, and that their emotional well-being is also taken care of. In certain industries, this can mean making sure that the employee is well-rested. To compliment this, employees are responsible for forewarning their employers of any health conditions that could affect their well-being.
There are certain workplaces that must meet unique health and safety legal requirements. For example, those working in the construction industry are protected by laws preventing contact with asbestos. Risk assessments must be carried out to determine is asbestos is present in the working environment, and employers must provided protective clothing if it is detected. Similarly, those working in the healthcare industry who come into contact with patients must be trained in manual handling. This ensures that they will not injure themselves when assisting a patient; at the same time, the patient is also protected.
Those working in the entertainment or food industry will legally have to follow guidelines regarding the number of people who are allowed on their property, as well as food hygiene rules. By ignoring these legal requirements, those working in such an industry could face civil or criminal prosecution in the event of an accident.
Who Regulates Health and Safety Requirements?
Health and safety requirements are monitored and enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). As well as making sure workplaces, communities, and individuals remain informed regarding the potential risks in the areas they operate in, they are also the people who handle breaches of health and safety legislation.
The HSE provide unique and extensive guidelines to individual industries. From hairdressing to architecture, they have guidelines that have been tailored specifically to the needs of unique industries. While there are basic guidelines that all individuals and organisations must follow, the HSE's unique guidelines are there to ensure that no stone is left unturned when each person is monitoring health and safety in their own environment.
As HSE are responsible for regulating health and safety legal requirements, they are the organisation to go to for statistics in this area. For those who are researching health and safety in order to see the impact of not following guidelines, this is a great place to get a factual assessment that is free from media bias.
As well as monitoring, regulating, and enforcing, the HSE also provide consultancy services. Those workplaces that want to further implement health and safety in their environment, but feel as though they need a deeper assessment to do so, can turn to the HSE for help. They can train safety representatives, help organisations decide whether trips are being adequately assessed, and provide general unique guidance. The costs associated with using their services are far outweighed by the benefits associated with forgoing risks in the future.
Health and safety legal requirements are extensive, and can often be misunderstood. While the media often depicts them as fun-ruining pieces of legislation, it is actually the case that they work towards protecting the general public and employees in the workplace. When followed correctly, they allow us all to enjoy life in a way that is safe, without sacrificing enjoyment. Following legal requirements also ensures that organisations and corporations are protected if anybody decides to sue them.