Workplace health and safety law, also referred to as occupational health and safety, means every employee has the right to be able to carry out their daily work in a safe environment.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 provides the legal framework in Britain to promote, stimulate and encourage high standards of health and safety for people at work and protection for others, i.e. members of the public, against risks that arise from work activities.
More information can be found at the Health and Safety Executive website.
Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that employers must, as far as is reasonably practicable safeguard the health , safety and welfare of employees by providing and maintaining :-
There is an absolute duty on employers with five or more employees to prepare and revise as necessary a written statement of safety policy which details the general policy and the particular organisation and arrangements for carrying it out. The policy must be brought to the notice of all the employees.
Employers also have a legal duty under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations to display the approved poster in a prominent position in each workplace or to provide each worker with a copy of the approved leaflet (available as a free download) that outlines British health and safety law.
Health and safety enforcement generally falls to one of two organisations, either the Health and Safety Executive or Local Authorities.
The organisation enforcing in your business will be determined by the main activity at the workplace.
Authorised Officers conduct routine inspections of premises, investigate complaints and reportable accidents as well as responding to enquiries from employers, employees and members of the public.
If you are not sure who enforces your workplace have a look at the Health and Safety Executive website.
During a general health and safety inspection the Officer will peruse the paperwork present including health and safety policy, risk assessments, training records, accident book, maintenance documentation, gas safety certification, portable appliance test results, fixed electrical installation certifications, reports of thorough examination required for passenger lifts, goods lifts, and reach trucks.
The Health and Safety inspection will also include a walk round the premises/workplace during which the Officer will assess the working conditions and practices.
If an Officer discovers what is believed to be a contravention of any Act or regulation, the Officer can:
In exceptional circumstances seize, render harmless or destroy any article or substance which is considered to be the cause of imminent danger or serious personal injury.
More information can be found at the following Health and Safety Executive website.
Alternatively contact Environmental Health at the details on the contact page
Healthy Working Lives are also an organisation that can provide free health and safety services such as an advice line, workplace visits and practical support free of charge and can be contacted on 0800 019 2211 or visit the Healthy Working Lives Website