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The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is the main piece of legislation concerning health and safety for employers, employees and contractors in the UK. Employers have a legal duty under this Act to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of the people for whom they are responsible and the people who may be affected by the work they do. The legislation states that risks should be reduced “so far as is reasonably practicable”. This term means that the person responsible for ensuring the health and safety of others must weigh up the risk of a health and safety incident occurring with the cost of trying to prevent it.
According to the Act, Employers must safeguard, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all the people who work for them and “other persons”. This applies in particular to the provision and maintenance of safe plant and systems of work, and covers all machinery and equipment used at work. Other persons can refer to contractors and even customers. People at work also have a duty under the Act to take reasonable care to avoid harm to themselves or to others by their working practices, and to co-operate with employers and others in meeting statutory requirements. The Act also requires employees not to interfere with or misuse anything provided to protect their health, safety or welfare in compliance with the Act. At the heart of this legislation is the recognition that everyone has a responsibility for health and safety in the workplace.
Did you know?
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 28.5 million days overall were taken as sick leave. That’s 1.2 days per worker. Back injuries and conditions affecting the muscles are common in the workforce. Over 10,000 workers a year suffer injuries because of slips, trips or falls.
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