Health and safety at work sounds like a recent initiative but key Parliamentary legislation to protect the wellbeing of people at work was introduced as far back as 1833 when the Factories Act was passed, primarily to protect child laborers.
In more recent times, 1974’s Health and Safety at Work etc Act helped to shape many of today’s health and safety regulations.
Current legislation is regularly updated and the focus is on ensuring the employer provides a suitable, safe working environment, equipment and systems for employees, ensuring employees are aware of any health risks and their own responsibilities in this area.
Keeping healthy and safe at work
In many ways health and safety at work is a matter of considerate, common sense.
As a result, the level of implementation and the number of dos and don’ts will depend very much on where you work and what you do.
If your job involves handling flammable materials or operating heavy machinery, your ‘at work legislation’ will be much more complex than if you work at a desk in an office.
However, no matter where you work you need to look after yourself and your colleagues.
What you need to do
If you are an employer you need to ensure your Risk Assessment is up to date and your organisation has done all it is required to do in terms of meeting legislation and raising employee awareness.
If you are an employee, whilst you have a right to work in an environment where everything reasonably possible has been done to protect you, it is also your responsibility do all you can to reasonably reduce any risk to your and your colleagues’ health and wellbeing.
We hope this brief guide will help you stay healthy and well at work. If you’d like to know more about health and safety at work, a wide range of additional information is available at www.hse.gov.uk.