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The (UK) background Health & Safety legislation.

Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
Applies to all work and work related activities. This requires the Employer and/or Owner/Managing Agent for the Factory/Building to take responsibility for :

"Provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and with out risks to health."

This applies to employees, other people at work and members of the public.

The responsibility rests with the "body corporate" and :

"where an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent & connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other similar ......., he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against & punished accordingly".

Employees have a clear responsibility to co-operate with their employers on health & safety matters and not to do anything which puts themselves or others at risk.

The Health & Safety at Work Act is 'policed' - in the first instance - by the owner/managing agent/maintenance contractor/employer.

How ?
By establishing and implementing clear Health & Safety policy. By training all employees trained and clearly instructing them in their duties. By assessment of all work related hazards and/or risks.

In addition inspection from EHO and/or HSE inspectors will backup or 'audit' the employer's responsibility to self regulate & enforce health & safety. If EHO/HSE involved and not happy with compliance then Improvement Notice and/or Prohibition Notice and/or Prosecution may follow.

The Health & Safety standards applied will be defined by relevant :

  • Statutory Provision
  • Regulation
  • Approved Code of Practice
  • Guidance Note
  • Other eg HTM 2040, TM13, etc.

To summarise, this is an 'enabling' piece of legislation framed in broad and general terms, made more precise and specific by a range of regulation, codes of practice and guidance as set out below.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1992
The "six pack" applies to every one at work regardless of what that work it is. It requires employers to plan, control, organise, monitor and review their work.

To do this the employer should :

  • Assess the risks associated with work.

    1. Look for the hazards
    2. Decide who might be harmed & how.
    3. Evaluate the risks and decide what action is required.
    4. Record the findings.
    5. Review the findings.

  • Have access to competent Health & Safety Advice
  • Provide Health & Safey information and training to employees
  • Have arrangements to deal with serious & imminent danger
  • Co-operate in health & safety matters with others who share the workplace.

Employees should :

  • Follow instructions given by their supervisors
  • Co-operate with their employers on health & safety matters.
  • Follow the health & safety rules which apply to their particular job and to the site.
  • Use the health & safety equipent provided.
  • Report defects in equipment to their supervisors.
  • Take care of their own health and safety as well as that of work mates and others eg general public.

Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/2225)
This requires anyone who has control of premises where a wet cooling tower or an evaporative condenser is installed to notify the local authority environmental health department.

Notification must be made on an applcation form supplied by the environmental health department.. The information required includes name & address of premises, number of devices, name address & telephone number of person in control of the premises, details of te location(s) of the device(s).

If any of the above information changes the local authority must be informed in writing within a month.

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurences Regulations 1995.
RIDDOR requires that certain accidents have to be reported to the HSE.

This includes employees and the self employed. Any of the following must be reported :

  • Serious and fatal accidents. This includes (within 10 days) completed accident report (F2508)

  • Injuries where the injured person is unfit or unable to do their job for more than 3 consecutive days. Again F2508 to be completed within 10 days.

  • A dangerous occurrence. Again F2508 within 10 days.

  • If a worker suffers from a specified disease associated with their current job. Reported to HSE on F2508A.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 (CoSHH SI 1999/.....)
This came into effect March 1999 & replaced CoSHH SI 1994/3246 Regs. This imposes duties on :

Employers :
to protect employees (and other persons) who may be exposed to substances hazardous to health.

Employees :
concerning their own protection from such exposure.

These regulations apply to all substances for use at work which are hazardous to health, including micro- organisms. The regulations provide for a maximum exposure limit for specified substances & require personal protective equipment to be provided by an employer in pursuance of these regulations.

The Duties :

Regulation 3
Where any duty is imposed on an employer by virtue of these regulations then the employer is under a like duty in respect of any other person whether at work or not who may be affected by the work carried on by the employer eg visitors, passers by, members of the public.

Regulation 6
Imposes a duty on employers to make suitable & sufficient assessment of risk created by the works which are liable to expose any employees to any substances hazardous to health.

Regulation 7
Sets out how the risk should be prevented or controlled eg ppe, total enclosure, handling systems and other measures.

Regulation 8
States that where an employer adopts a control measure he shall take all reasonable steps to ensure it is properly used or applied. The employer should also monitor any defect in the control measure adopted.

Regulation 9
Obliges an employer to ensure the control measures are maintained and any protective equipment remains clean & in working condition. Requires regular examination & records.

Regulation 10
Requires the employer to monitor exposure of employees to hazardous substances & maintain a record of this monitoring.

Regulation 11
Where appropriate the employer shall ensure suitable employee health surveillance.

Regulation 12
Obliges an employer to provide suitable information, instruction & training re risk to health, exposure to hazardous material & precautions to be taken.

Regulation 13
Sets out requirements for certain fumigations.

Regulation 16
Sets out available defence - ie took all reasonable precautions & exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence. Records maintained become crucial to the defence.

The practical implicatons of applying CoSHH regulations to Legionellae are given in the HSC document :

Legionnaires' disease - the control of legionella bacteria in water systems Approved Code of Practice & Guidance (ACoP L8)