Health and safety law aims to protect employers, employees and the general public from accidents and incidents. Health and Safety language however can be quite complicated; if you are unfamiliar with health and safety terminology it can be difficult to understand which health and safety laws are applicable to you, and what your duties and responsibilities are.
In this article, we hope to give you an understanding of the types of health and safety laws, highlighting key legislation and regulations.
Legislation is law (or a set of laws) proposed by a government, that are made official by Parliament, known as the ‘Acts of Parliament’. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the governing body responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation in the UK.
The main piece of health and safety legislation is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The Health and Safety at Work Act imposes duties to ensure employers, employees and other duty holders meet their legal responsibilities. You can view the full Act here.
‘Statutory Instruments’ sit underneath Acts, and are often referred to as ‘regulations’.
A regulation is more specific, focusing on a narrower area. Regulations are more detailed, focusing on more specific duties.
The key health and safety regulations include:
The Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999 – places duties on employers and employees including health and safety arrangements, training and competent advice.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 – focuses on the workplace i.e. toilets, lighting, heating etc.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 – what and when we have to report to the HSE.
As well as the above, there are a number of hazard specific regulations such as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002, which aim to protect health from exposure to substances such as acids, dusts, bacteria etc.
In addition to legislation and regulations there are ‘Approved Codes of Practice’, which are guidance notes published by the HSE which describe recommended methods on how to comply with the law.
If you have any questions or concerns in regards to your health and safety responsibilities we are here to help - you can call us on 01394 389683 or fill out our enquiry form.