Guidance Note gn 020 Summary of Health and Safety Legislation




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Safety Department

Imperial College London


Southside Building

South Kensington Campus

London SW7 2AZ, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7594 9423 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7594 9424


safetydept@imperial.ac.uk

www.imperial.ac.uk

Guidance Note GN 020

Summary of Health and Safety Legislation


November 2002


This guidance note contains information on the health and safety responsibilities for all project leaders, principal investigators and academic supervisors, as set out in the Health and Safety Commission document ‘Managing health and safety aspects of research in higher and further education’.


This guidance note includes an overview of:-

  • General requirements

  • Risk assessment

  • Hazard identification

  • Risk judgement

  • Record keeping

  • Control of risks

  • Monitoring work

  • Co-operation



  1. Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (the Act) is the primary legislation governing health, safety and welfare at work.


Section 2 of the Act makes it the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees. This includes: provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are safe and without risk; and information, instruction and training.


Section 3 extends this duty so that employers must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of non-employees affected by the work activities.


Section 7 makes it the duty of every employee while at work to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and of other persons who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work. Employees are also required to co-operate with their employer as regards any duty or requirement imposed by health and safety legislation.


Section 8 makes it the duty of everyone not to interfere with, or misuse, anything provided in the interests of health, safety or welfare.


Section 9 states that no employer can charge an employee for anything done or provided in accordance with health and safety legislation.


The Act and its associated Regulations are enforced by Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive. Inspectors have powers of entry and can take photographs, seize items, take samples, and take witness statements. Inspectors can also serve Improvement and Prohibition Notices and can prosecute companies and individuals.



  1. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

These regulations are aimed at improving health and safety management and emphasise the need to develop a safety culture where the management of health and safety is fully integrated within the organisation.

1.0.1Employer’s key duties


Employers are required to: assess the risk to health and safety of employees and to anyone else who may be affected by the work activity; make arrangements for putting into practice the preventive and protective measures that follow from the risk assessment; appoint competent persons to provide health and safety assistance; and, co-operate and co-ordinate with other employers where they share premises or workplaces.

1.0.2Employees' key duties


Employees are required to: make full and proper use of any arrangements established by the employer for health and safety at work; and, report to the employer details of any work situation which might represent a serious or imminent danger.

1.0.3Main requirements of the regulations


Risk assessments should be carried out to identify hazards and evaluate the risks arising from them in order to establish the necessary control measures to ensure health and safety. In assessing the risks consideration should be given to all those who may be affected, including visitors and contractors. The significant findings of the assessment should be recorded. In deciding upon the measures to be taken, wherever possible the risk should be avoided altogether. Where this is not possible, the risk should be dealt with at source, prioritising measures which protect the whole workforce. Assessments should be revised if changes take place that suggest they are no longer valid. Control measures should be regularly reviewed for effectiveness as part of good health and safety management.

In carrying out risk assessments the employer should follow the General Principles of Prevention, which are to:
  • avoid risks;

  • evaluate the risks which cannot be avoided;

  • combat the risks at source;

  • adapt the work to the individual;

  • adapt to technical progress;

  • replace the dangerous by the non-dangerous;

  • develop a coherent overall prevention policy;

  • give collective protective measures priority; and,

  • give appropriate instructions.


Competent persons should be appointed to provide health and safety assistance. These may be in-house, external or both. They must have adequate time and resources to carry out their functions. The appointment of competent persons does not remove employers' legal responsibilities.

Emergency procedures should be established. An emergency plan should be drawn up in consultation with appropriate bodies, eg the emergency services, on-site security personnel. As a minimum, it should cover fire and loss of electrical power.

All employers need to co-ordinate their activities to ensure that temporary workers whether on fixed or short-term contracts are provided with essential information concerning the workplace and in particular any risks to their health and safety. Employers must also ensure that basic induction training is given and following changes of duties, equipment, work processes etc. Training should include emergency procedures, reporting procedures, risks in the work and the precautions needed. Training will need to be repeated periodically to ensure continued competence. Health and safety information should be provided to contractors' staff where necessary.

Further guidance on Risk Assessment can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg163.pdf

(Please note that this is a PDF file and will be downloaded using Acrobat Reader to give an on-screen version of the HSE leaflet 5 steps to risk assessment.)

The Regulations can be found at:

http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si1999/19993242.htm



  1. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

These regulations are aimed at safeguarding the health and safety of employees from hazards arising from the provision and use of work equipment. They contain general requirements covering all hazards and specific minimum requirements on selected hazards.

Employer’s key duties


The employer must ensure that: work equipment is suitable for the purpose for which it is provided, and is properly maintained; information, instruction and training is given in the safe use and maintenance of equipment and what to do if things go wrong; there is suitable guarding for mechanical hazards; there is protection against rupture or disintegration; there is protection against burns and scalds from hot or cold equipment or its products; there are control devices which are visible, identifiable, marked and located outside danger zones and that control systems are safe; work equipment is stabilised, by clamping or other means, and that sufficient lighting is provided when the work equipment is used; where there are health and safety hazards, work equipment is marked clearly and incorporates warnings.

Further guidance on the use of work equipment can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg229.htm

(Please note that this is an on-line version of the HSE leaflet Using work equipment safely.)

Further guidance on the Regulations can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg291.pdf

(Please note that this is a PDF file and will be downloaded using Acrobat Reader to give an on-screen version of the HSE leaflet Simple guide to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.)
  1. Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992


These regulations apply to any manual handling operations which may cause injury at work. Such operations include not only the lifting of loads, but also lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving them, whether by hand or other bodily force.

1.0.4Employers' key duties


Employers are required to:

  • avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable;

  • assess those which cannot be avoided;

  • reduce risk of injury so far as is reasonably practicable; and,

  • give employees general indications and, if reasonably practicable, precise information on the weight of each load.

1.0.5Employees' key duties


Employees must make full and proper use of any system of work provided.

1.0.6General comments


All manual handling activities involving a risk of injury should be assessed, and appropriate steps taken to remove or reduce the risk. Where necessary, safe means of access to heights should be provided that allow for the task in hand to be carried out, eg specialised step ladders with large platforms. Wherever possible, heavy or bulky loads should be handled using trolleys or other mechanical aids. Alternatively, some loads can be made more manageable by splitting into smaller parts for transport. Unstable items such as gas cylinders should be well secured. Training should be given in safe manual handling techniques and in how to use any mechanical lifting or transporting aids provided.

Further guidance can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg143.pdf

(Please note that this is a PDF file and will be downloaded using Acrobat Reader to give an on-screen version of the HSE leaflet Getting to grips with manual handling.)



  1. Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999

These regulations provide a legal framework to help protect people in the workplace against health risks from hazardous substances. They require employers to assess the risks to health when work is liable to expose anybody to a substance hazardous to health. Employers must also comply with the other requirements of the Regulations as regards preventing or controlling exposure; examining, testing and maintaining the control measures; monitoring exposure; providing health surveillance; and information, instruction and training.

Main requirements of the regulations


The risk assessment needs to consider what substances are hazardous to health; how are they hazardous; and, what measures are required to prevent or control exposure. The assessment, which needs to be recorded and readily available, will be regarded as suitable and sufficient if the detail and expertise with which it is carried out are commensurate with the nature and degree of risk arising from the work, as well as the complexity and variability of the process.

In the Regulations a substance hazardous to health is defined as: a carcinogen; a substance listed in Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 1994 (CHIP) as very toxic, toxic, harmful, corrosive or irritant; a substance with a Maximum Exposure Limit (MEL) or Occupational Exposure Standard (OES); a biological agent; dust of any kind when present at a substantial concentration in the air; any other substance which creates a comparable hazard to health to any of the above.

Substances can be hazardous to health through: inhalation; ingestion; absorption through the skin or eyes; or, injection; and can cause: acute or chronic illness (including cancer); disease; sensitisation; or, allergic reaction.

The best method of control is to eliminate the hazardous substance or replace it with one that is less hazardous. If this cannot be achieved then engineering controls, administrative controls, or personal protective equipment (PPE) must be used to reduce the risk. The use of PPE is only a permissible approach if it is not reasonably practicable to achieve adequate control by other means alone or in combination. Sometimes adequate control can only be achieved through a combination of all or some of these methods. Engineering controls include: total enclosure (glove box); partial enclosure (fume cupboard); Local Exhaust Ventilation; and, general ventilation. Control measures need to be checked regularly to ensure they are being properly used, and they need to be maintained in an efficient state, in effective working order and in good repair. One of the most important administrative controls is Good Laboratory Practice based upon: no eating, drinking, smoking, chewing, application of cosmetics, taking of medication; wearing suitable protective clothing; good personal hygiene; clearing up spillages promptly; and, knowing the appropriate emergency procedures.

The risk assessment needs to cover emergency procedures including: the means for dealing with leaks, spills or uncontrolled releases; safe disposal of substances and contaminated materials; and the provision of sufficient suitable personal protective equipment.

Atmospheric sampling may be required to: monitor failure of control measures; ensure a Maximum Exposure Limit is not exceeded; and, check on control measures.

Health surveillance may be required to: protect the health of individuals by detection of adverse effects at early stages; evaluate the effectiveness of control measures; detect and evaluate hazards to health; and, assess immunological status.

Information, Instruction, and Training are needed on: the nature and degree of risks to health; how to use control measures; the reasons for personal protective equipment; monitoring procedures; the role of health surveillance; and, emergency procedures.

Further guidance on COSHH can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg136.pdf

(Please note that this is a PDF file and will be downloaded using Acrobat Reader to give an on-screen version of the HSE leaflet COSHH: a brief guide to the Regulations.)

Further guidance on the CHIP Regulations can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg181.pdf

(Please note that this is a PDF file and will be downloaded using Acrobat Reader to give an on-screen version of the HSE leaflet The complete idiots guide to CHIP.)



  1. Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

These regulations require precautions to be taken against the risk of death or personal injury from the use of electricity in work activities.

Regulation 6 of the Electricity at Work Regulations requires that electrical equipment which may be exposed to adverse conditions should be of such construction or so protected as to prevent the danger that may arise from such exposure.

The arrangements for inspection and testing of electrical equipment by a competent person should include reliable defect reporting and record keeping systems. Maintenance or repair should only be undertaken by a competent person.

Further guidance on electrical safety can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg231.htm

(Please note that this is an on-screen version of the HSE leaflet Electrical safety and you.)
  1. Noise at Work Regulations 1989


Significant noise may be produced by some machinery. The risk to hearing depends on both the noise level and the length of exposure to it. Where it is likely that exposure levels will reach or exceed 85 dB(A) (and this should be suspected when normal conversation becomes difficult), a noise assessment will need to be carried out by a competent person.

The Noise at Work Regulations stipulate three action levels, the first at a daily personal noise exposure of 85 dB(A) and the second at 90 dB(A). The third is a peak sound pressure of 200 pascals. If the first is reached or exceeded, employees should be informed and hearing protection made available. If the second or peak action levels are reached or exceeded, measures should be taken to reduce noise exposure by means other than by hearing protection whenever reasonably practicable, eg by substitution of noisy processes, engineering controls. Where workers remain exposed to these levels, hearing protection must be provided and used.

Further guidance on noise can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/as8.htm

Further guidance on the Regulations on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg75l.htm

(Please note that this is an on-screen version of the HSE leaflet Introducing the Noise at Work Regulations.)
  1. Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999


Workers may be exposed to ionising radiation from particular types of equipment or from the use of isotopes. All work of this nature is regulated by the Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999 and some will also fall under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993.

Where work with ionising radiation is to be carried out, careful reference should be made to the Regulations and associated Approved Code of Practice to determine whether parts of the facility should be designated as 'controlled' or 'supervised' areas. The employer will have appointed a Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) under the Regulations and this person should be consulted.

Local Rules for work with ionising radiation must be drawn up and brought to the attention of employees and others who might be affected. The RPA should be involved in drawing up procedures for the use of ionising radiation and the controlled disposal of radioactive materials, and in monitoring those procedures. Radiation Protection Supervisors are appointed to ensure compliance with the Local Rules. Disposal of radioactive waste should be only by authorised routes.

Further information on radiation can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/hthdir/noframes/iradiat.htm


  1. Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2000


These regulations are intended to protect people’s health and the environment from risks associated with the contained use of genetically modified organisms. There are separate regulations dealing with organisms which are deliberately released into the environment. Contained use is defined as any operation in which organisms are genetically modified or in which genetically modified organisms are cultured, stored, used, transported, destroyed or disposed of, and where physical barriers are used to limit their contact with the general population and the environment. The regulations apply to anybody carrying out contained used work, whether the person concerned is an employer, a self-employed person or someone who is not employed, such as a student. Any person carrying out contained use work is required to: carry out an assessment of the risks to human health and to the environment and keep records; establish a local genetic modification safety committee to advise on risk assessments; classify all operations and organisms used, according to the scheme set out in the regulations; notify the HSE of the intention to use the premises, individual activities carried out on the premises, and in certain cases seek consent prior to starting work; adopt controls, including suitable containment measures; and, draw up emergency plans. The Health and Safety Commission publish detailed guidance on requirements for work involving genetically modified organisms through the Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification. The compendium of guidance can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/hthdir/noframes/acgmcomp/acgmcomp.htm


  1. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992


These regulations establish a consistent set of workplace standards across all industries.

Employers' key duties


Employers and others in control of workplaces are required to comply with a set of minimum health, safety and welfare requirements covering provision and maintenance of workplaces, which meet minimum standards on: ventilation; temperature in indoor workplaces; lighting (including emergency lighting); cleaning and decoration; room dimensions and space; suitability of workstations; falls from heights and falling objects; glazing, windows and skylights; safe passage of pedestrians and vehicles; glazed doors and partitions; doors, gates and escalators; floors; sanitary conveniences; drinking water; seating; clothing storage; facilities for washing, changing and eating; rest area (and in separate rest areas and rest rooms non-smokers should be protected from tobacco smoke); rest facilities for pregnant women and nursing mothers.


  1. Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996

These regulations require employers to provide specific safety signs when ever there is a risk that has not been avoided or controlled by other means, eg by engineering controls and safe systems of work. The safety signs used need to comply with the requirements of British Standard BS 5378 Safety signs and colours; this includes the use of standard pictograms, supplemented by wording as appropriate; and following the colour scheme of:

  • red for prohibition - eg No unauthorised entry;

  • blue for mandatory - eg wear protective eyewear;

  • yellow for caution - eg laser hazard; and,

  • green for safe condition - eg first-aid box.

Employers are required to maintain the signs they provide and to explain unfamiliar signs to their employees and tell them what to do when they see a safety sign.

Further guidance can be found on the HSE Website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/safesign.htm



  1. Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992

These regulations cover equipment and clothing worn or held by people at work to protect them against risks to their health and safety. They set out requirements for assessing, selecting, providing, maintaining and using personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE should always be regarded as a last resort. Steps should first be taken to prevent or control risk at source by making machinery or processes safer and by using engineering controls and safe systems of work.

Employers' key duties


Employers are required to: assess risks to health and safety which have not been avoided by means other than PPE, to determine whether PPE provided and proposed is 'suitable'; provide suitable PPE, free of charge, to protect employees against risks that have not been controlled by other means; take all reasonable steps to ensure that PPE is properly used; maintain PPE in clean and efficient working order, replace it as necessary and provide appropriate storage for PPE when it is not in use; and, provide employees with comprehensible information, instruction and training to enable them to make efficient use of PPE.

Employees' key duties


Employees are required to: make full and proper use of PPE provided and report any loss or obvious defect in PPE to their employer.

General comments


'Suitable' PPE is: appropriate for the risk; takes account of ergonomics and the health of wearers; fits the wearer correctly; effectively controls identified risks without increasing risks elsewhere; and, is compatible with any other types of PPE which needs to be worn for a particular activity.

Further information on Personal Protective Equipment can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ppe92a.htm



  1. Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) require certain injuries, dangerous occurrences and diseases arising out of or in connection with work to be notified to the enforcing authority. Fatal and major injuries to employees, students or other non-employees should be reported immediately by telephone and confirmed in writing. Other injuries to employees which involve an absence from work or incapacity for normal work for more than three days should be reported within ten days. Reportable major injuries include acute illness requiring medical treatment which has resulted from exposure to a biological agent or its toxins or infected material.

Cases of occupational ill health arising from work are also reportable.

Although not specifically required by RIDDOR, details of all, even minor, injuries at work and near misses should be recorded, with details of the immediate cause of the injury and of the action taken.

Further details on how to report a Reportable accident can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/riddor1.htm


Appendix

Specific legal requirements



  1. Management of health and safety at work. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L21 HSE Books 2000 ISBN 0 7176 2488 9

  2. Safe work in confined spaces. Confined Spaces Regulations 1997. Approved Code of Practice and guidance L101 HSE Books 1997 ISBN 0 7176 1405 0

  3. Electricity at work: Safe working practices HSG85 HSE Books 1993 ISBN 0 7176 0442 X

  4. Workplace health, safety and welfare. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Approved Code of Practice and guidance L24 HSE Books 1992 ISBN 0 7176 0413 6

  5. Working with ionising radiation. Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999. Approved Code of Practice and guidance L21 HSE Books 2000 ISBN 0 7176 1746 7

  6. Safe use of lifting equipment. Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. Approved Code of Practice and guidance L113 HSE Books 1998 ISBN 0 7176 1628 2

  7. Manual Handling. Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. Guidance on Regulations L23 HSE Books 1998 ISBN 0 7176 2415 3

  8. Guidance on the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 L108 HSE Books 1998 ISBN 0 7176 1511 1

  9. Safety of pressure systems. Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000. Approved Code of Practice L122 HSE Books 2000 ISBN 0 7176 1767 X

  10. General COSHH ACoP, Carcinogens ACoP and Biological Agents ACoP. Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999. Approved Codes of Practice L5 HSE Books 1999 ISBN 0 7176 1670 3

  11. Safe use of work equipment. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Approved Code of Practice and guidance L22 HSE Books 1998 ISBN 0 7176 1626 6

  12. Display screen equipment work. Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. Guidance on Regulations L26 HSE Books 1992 ISBN 0 7176 0410 1

  13. Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2000. Compendium of Guidance. Guidance from the Health and Safety Commissions Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification HSE Books 2000 ISBN 0 7176 1763 7




First Prepared

1st. Review

2nd. Review

3rd. Review

4th. Review

December 2002

Ian Gillett













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