To make everyday workplaces a safer place, there are many legislations and regulations in place that all businesses must follow. This is to ensure that their employees are provided a safe workplace with minimal risk and plenty of training to prepare everybody and they know what they’re doing and how to avoid injuring themselves. The main regulations that every business has to be aware of and practice are:
These regulations were put into effect to ensure that employers are required to:
- Assess manual handling risks to try and reduce the risk of injury and to also consider the task at hand and who is best suited for what so that people who are not physically able to perform a certain task are not made to.
- Tasks that have a high risk of injury towards employees are avoided and automated (if possible) instead to make the workplace safer.
- Workers should be provided with correct information on the weight of any loads.
The main reasons why these regulations were put into effect were to make sure that businesses provided their employees with:
- Safe pavement and walkways to reduce the risk of slipping and injury.
- Proper lighting, air conditioning, heating and an adequate workspace that is cleaned regularly.
- Facilities such as toilets, washing areas, refreshments such as water dispensers etc.
This regulation requires employers to:
- Always be aware that the correct PPE is being worn by all employees. Also, this equipment must be provided free of charge if there are any risks to health and safety that cannot be controlled. PPE includes equipment such as helmets, gloves, ear defenders, face masks, safety goggles, air filters, footwear etc.
- Provide any information and training on the use of all equipment that employees are to come in contact with.
DSE workers are defined as anybody who does the majority of all of their work on a computer. This regulation covers anyone who uses a display for an hour or longer regularly/daily. The main provisions of this regulation are to ensure that employers are required to:
- Provide regular eyesight tests for all employees to assess any damage caused by prolonged use.
- Provide proper health and safety information.
- Make risk assessments of the workstations used by employees and try to reduce any risks that are identified.
- Provide adjustable furniture to tailor to everyone’s needs.
- Encourage employees to take regular breaks from their screens.
- Show that there are steps taken to reduce the risk of employees straining themselves in the workplace.
These regulations make it so that employers have to report on all work-related incidents that take place. All injuries/illnesses need to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or to the nearest local authority environmental health department.
All accidents must be recorded in a logbook, including information such as the date and time of the incident, what the injuries were, who was involved along with their details, where the incident took place and a summary of what happened. These injuries and illnesses are required by law to be reported by employers:
- Occupational diseases like carpal tunnel syndrome, occupational asthma, occupational dermatitis etc.
- Injuries that require workers to be relieved of their normal duties for more than seven days due to an accident at work.
- Injuries such as broken bones, lost limbs or digits, eye injuries, electric shocks and illnesses that require hospitalisation or immediate medical attention.
- Any near misses which could have resulted in death or major injury.
- Any deaths caused by accidents at work.
The main reasons for these regulations to be in place are to ensure that employers are required to:
- Properly maintain all equipment and provide regular maintenance.
- Protect employees from exposed and dangerous parts of machinery.
- Ensure that work equipment is safe and suitable to use for its intended purpose.
- Provide information and training on the use of all equipment.
These regulations were implemented with two directives given by the European Union. These were on the organisation of working time and the employment of workers under the age of 18. They cover the rights for holidays and they also limit the length of the working week for younger people who are working. The protection available for adult workers include:
- A minimum daily rest period of at least 11 hours unless arrangements have already been made that comply with the other regulations.
- A maximum of 48 hours working week meaning that no workers are obligated to work more than this amount unless they volunteer for overtime.
- A 20-minute daily break after every six hours of work during the day that is to go uninterrupted.
Extra protection available for workers between the ages of 15 and 18:
- A minimum daily rest period of at least 12 after every 24 hour period of work.
- Entitlement to a weekly rest of at least 48 hours in each seven day period.
- An uninterrupted break of 30 minutes after working more than four and a half hours.
- Young workers cannot work more than eight hours a day or 40 in a week.
These regulations also ensure that employees who work full time are entitled to six weeks of paid holiday each year. This amount is less for part-time employees and is dependent on how many hours they work a year. The regulations also ensure that employers have the right to ask their staff to be part of a written agreement to opt-out of the 48 hour limit for specific periods of time. Employees can change their mind though they can withdraw their agreement without the consent of their employers.
These regulations outline the main employer duties which are:
- To make assessments of risk to the health and safety of all employees and act upon any that are identified to reduce accidents and injury.
- Provide employees with information and training on health and safety.
- Provide a written health and safety policy.
- Ensure that employees know what they are doing and only competent people are hired.