An act is passed by Parliament, which is the highest form of law in the land. An act of parliament is the primary legislation of the UK. A law is considered to be an act when it has already been duly passed by a legislative body. It is for this reason that certain acts vary from one state to another.
A regulation, on the other hand, is one that is approved by a group of individuals based on an act that has already been passed.
These regulations are based on the act that has been approved and served as a means to make the act a lot easier to follow and adhere to. Delegated or secondary legislation allows the Government to make changes to the law using powers confered by an Act of Parliament.
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 , also referred to as HSWA, HSW Act or HASAWA, is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain.
The Health and Safety Executive with local authorities (and other enforcing authorities) is responsible for enforcing the Act and a number of other Acts and Statutory Instruments relevant to the working environment.
General duties of the act:
• To maintain or improve standards of health and safety at work, to protect other people against risks arising from work activities, to control the storage and use of dangerous substances and to control certain emissions into the air.
• Contains the duties placed upon employers with regard to their employees.
• Places duties on employers and the self-employed to ensure their activities do not endanger anybody (with the self-employed that includes themselves), and to provide information, in certain circumstances, to the public about any potential hazards.
• Places a duty on those in control of premises, which are non-domestic and used as a place of work, to ensure they do not endanger those who work within them.
• Places duties on manufacturers, suppliers, designers, importers etc. in relation to articles and substances used at work.
• Places duties upon employees.
• Places a duty on everyone not to intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety and welfare.
• Provides that an employer may not charge his employees for anything done, or equipment provided for health and safety purposes under a relevant statutory provision.
It also establishes the Health & Safety Commission (HSC) and Executive (HSE), lays out the systems for enforcing the act, including the penalties for breaches of law and is the source of Crown immunity.
The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) is responsible for health and safety regulation in Great Britain. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) (and local authorities) are the enforcing authorities who work in support of the HSC. Both are statutory bodies, established under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (the HSW Act).
HSC’s statutory functions include conducting and sponsoring research; promoting training; providing an information and advisory service; and submitting proposals to Ministers for new or revised regulations and approved codes of practice. HSE advises and assists HSC and has specific statutory responsibilities of its own, notably for enforcing health and safety law.
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (amended 2003)
These Regulations require an employer to implement preventive and protective measures on the basis of general principles of prevention set out in EU legislation. There is also a new regulation requiring that a competent person in the employer’s employment shall be appointed for the purpose of assisting him in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under statutory provisions (not one who is not in his employment as in previous legislation). Employers must also arrange any necessary contacts with external services, especially as regards first-aid, emergency medical care and rescue work, that might be needed.
In the event of failure to comply with these Regulations, it is not an adequate defence that it was caused by his employee or by any other.
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations
It places a legal duty on employers, the self-employed and those in control of premises to report some work-related accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences to the relevant enforcing authority for their work activity. This can be the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or one of the local authorities.
Responsible persons are generally employers but also include various managers and occupiers of premises. Though the regulations do not impose a specific obligation on employees, they have a general obligation under section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to take care of safety. The Health and Safety Executive recommends that they report incidents to their employer and encourages voluntary notification to the relevant regulating authority.
COSSH 1994 (amended 2002)
COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. You can prevent or reduce workers exposure to hazardous substances by:
• finding out what the health hazards are
• deciding how to prevent harm to health
• providing control measures to reduce harm to health
• making sure they are used
• keeping all control measures in good working order
• providing information, instruction and training for employees and others
• providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases
• planning for emergencies
Most businesses use substances, or products that are mixtures of substances.
Some processes create substances. These could cause harm to employees, contractors and other people.
Sometimes substances are easily recognized as harmful. Common substances such as paint, bleach or dust from natural materials may also be harmful.
Manual Handling Operations 1992
This is defined, in Regulation 2, as ‘any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or by bodily force. The regulations apply to all work that involves carrying or holding loads such as lifting boxes, packing goods, or pushing or pulling trolleys. They specify all factors employers must consider if they employ manual workers. These include whether manual tasks involve awkward movements, moving loads over long distances, holding goods that are difficult to grasp and the capabilities of the worker.
Employers are required to provide adequate training to staff on safe handling and lifting techniques relevant to the task.
Manual handling is a major source of injury and the HSE have provided a lot of supporting materials and guidance for employers on how to minimize the risks involved in MH operations.
Food Safety Act 1990
The Food Safety Act 1990 is wide-ranging legislation on food safety and consumer protection in relation to food throughout Great Britain. The Act covers activities throughout the food distribution chain, from primary production through distribution to retail and catering. It gives the Government powers to make regulations on matters of detail. The Food Standards Agency is the principal Government Department responsible for preparing specific regulations under the Act.
The main aims of the Act are:
• to ensure that all food meets consumers expectations in terms of nature, substance and quality and is not misleadingly presented;
• to provide legal powers and specify offences in relation to public health and consumers’ interest; and
• to enable Great Britain to fulfill its part of the United Kingdoms’ responsibilities in the European Union.
Food Hygiene Regulations 2006
The way in which you achieve the following points depends on the individual setting. Whichever policy you have, it should firstly include a written statement that outlines your food safety procedures, and secondly be reviewed at regular intervals. You should always bear in mind that it has been developed to encourage businesses put in place food safety management procedures, and to comply with food hygiene regulations.
It applies to everyone who works in the food business, from owners and managers right through to food handling staff. Businesses can range from a supermarket, cafe, pub, mobile food stall, exclusive restaurant, right through to a school dining area. All sectors are covered including; caterers, primary producers (such as farmers), manufacturers, distributors and retailers. It relates to public or private organizations involved in any of the following activities;
• preparation of food
• processing of food
• manufacture of food
• packaging of food
• storage of food
• transportation/distribution of food
• handling of food
• Offering food for sale.
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (FSO) 2005
The Order applies to virtually all buildings, places and structures other than individual private dwellings e.g. individual flats in a block or family homes, and it is your responsibility to make sure your workplace reaches the required standard and employees are provided with adequate fire safety training.
The Fire Safety Order places the emphasis on risk reduction and fire prevention. Under the Order, people responsible for commercial buildings i.e. the employer, owner, or any other person who has control of any part of the premises, are required to carry out a mandatory detailed fire risk assessment identifying the risks and hazards in the premises.