Regulations

There are many Regulations relating to workplace Health and Safety in the UK.  What follows is a synopsis of the some of the main Health and Safety legislation and the scope of coverage.

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Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981
Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (ACOP) L74 1997
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992
Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992
Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995
Control of Substance Hazardous to Health Regulations

The above is not an exhaustive list - there are many other workplace Health and Safety Regulations covering areas such as Safety Signs, Portable Appliance Testing, Electricity, Lead, Asbestos, Pesticides, Noise, Construction, Woodworking, etc.   There are also many other Laws covering health and safety issues outside the workplace i.e the Road Traffic Act 1960.   The above list offers general information only and is not designed as a definitive statement.

Please contact us if you have any specific enquiries or visit the Health & Safety Executive website at www.open.gov/hse/hsehome.


Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

This is the major framework Act or 'enabling legislation' that covers all persons whenever they are at work.  It has 8 sections that relate to the general health and safety duties required of employers and employees.  Specific areas of coverage within the Act are addressed by various Regulations.  Whilst the Act does not change, the Regulations may be added to, withdrawn, updated and revised from time to time.  The Government department responsible for policy is the Health and Safety Commission and the enforcement body is the Health and Safety Executive.   Where breaches of the Regulations take place, it is the HSE Inspector who will issue an Enforcement notice (improvement or prohibition), a Seize and Destroy order or a prosecution under the Act.

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Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

This Regulation defines First Aid at Work.  It places a general obligation on employers to make adequate provision in the event that someone becomes ill or injured at work.   The Regulation does not specify a minimum ratio of staff to First Aiders (see below).

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Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (ACOP) L74 1997

All Regulations are accompanied by ACOP's.  These are HSE booklets that assist employers with the practical implementation of the Regulations.  Although not mandatory, they do provide formal advice as to how to properly apply the Regulation to which they relate.  Code of Practice advice could be used as evidence by the HSE in civil or criminal proceedings - employers who ignore them and apply their own interpretation of Regulations do so at their peril.  The ACOP that refers to First Aid at Work is the L74 which superseded the COP 42 in March 1997.  It offers advice as to First Aid risk assessment criteria, contents of First Aid kits and the training of First Aid personnel, including core competencies.  It does not specify a minimum ratio of staff to First Aiders but states instead that the level of provision should be decided by the employer after conducting an 'assessment of need'.

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Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992

A major piece of EC legislation which became effective on 1 January 1993.  It forms part of what is commonly referred to as the 'European 6-pack'.  It contains 12 specific Regulations covering: Risk Assessment; Health and Safety Arrangements and Assistance; Health Surveillance; Danger Procedures; Information for Employees - their Duties, Capabilities and Training; advice on Co-operation and Co-ordination and for persons working in host employers undertakings.  One of the main conditions requires that all employers conduct a Risk Assessment and that this should be formally recorded where there are 5 or more employees.  The outcome of the Risk Assessment will identify areas covered by other Regulations, such as…

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Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

Part of the EC 6-pack, became effective on 1 January 1993.   It requires that employers act to control the risks posed to employees by inappropriate and uncontrolled lifting, handling and movement.  Implementation may require modification of work practices, staff training and the use of appropriate equipment and techniques.

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Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992

Part of the EC 6-pack, became effective on 1 January 1993.   It requires that individual protection is provided for any staff required to use potentially hazardous equipment or work in hazardous areas.  The use of PPE should only be considered where danger cannot be controlled or modified by any other means - employers should consider it a final resort and not the first, cheapest option.  It covers the provision of items such as protective boots, gloves, eye guards, etc.

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Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

Part of the EC 6-pack, became effective on 1 January 1993.   These Regulations require that employers ensure their workplaces meet the health, safety and welfare needs of their employees and others.  It is concerned with such aspects as maintainence, ventilation, temperature, lighting and the provision of adequate washing, sanitary and restroom facilities.

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Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992

Part of the EC 6-pack, became effective on 1 January 1993.   Provides guidance as to who can be classed as a display screen user and stipulates minimum equipment specifications (the display screen, keyboard, work surface and chair) and environmental conditions (space, lighting, reflections, noise, heat, radiation and humidity).

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Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

Part of the 6-pack, became effective on 1 January 1993.   These Regulations require that any machinery, plant, apparatus or tool used in the workplace is safe and suitable for the purpose for which it is provided.  All work equipment - machinery and non-machinery - must be regularly maintained, carry appropriate warnings, markings and be adequately ventilated, lit and protected from extremes of temperature if applicable.  Work equipment users and operators must receive appropriate training, information and instructions regarding use of the equipment and any possible hazards.

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Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995

These Regulations require that any major injuries, illnesses or accidents occurring in the workplace are formally reported to the enforcing authority.  The Regulation defines major injuries and lists notifiable diseases - many of which can be occupational in origin.  It also defines notifiable Dangerous Occurrences - incidents such as explosion, structural collapse, electrical overload, fire, etc - where no injury occurs but subsequent investigation may be required.

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Control of Substance Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994

These Regulations define substances that may cause ill-health: dust, fumes, biological and chemical agents such as paints and cleaning materials.  Employers are required to assess the risks presented by these substances and put into place appropriate measures to prevent or control exposure.   This may require modification of work practices, staff training, use of suitable PPE or replacement with safer alternatives.   All chemicals used in the workplace are required to have an accompanying COSHH Data Sheet which provides technical, composition and first aid information that can be used in the event of exposure.

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