Health and safety legislation
The two most important pieces of health and safety legislation affecting educational establishments across the UK are the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. These set the standards that must be met by all, to ensure the health and safety of all employees and others who may be affected by any work activity. Other regulations also exist to cover work activities that carry specific risks, for example lifting and carrying, computer work and electricity. The Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974
The main piece of legislation affecting the management of health and safety in educational establishments across all sectors is the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 (HSWA). This Act provides a framework for ensuring the health and safety of all employees in any work activity. It also provides for the health and safety of anyone who may be affected by work activities in eg pupils/students and visitors to educational sites, including parents and contractors. Employers and employees (as well as manufacturers, suppliers and the self-employed) must comply with the duties set out in the Act, which are summarised as follows. •Places a duty on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees as far as is reasonably practicable. It also requires employers to consult with trade union safety representatives on matters affecting health and safety in the workplace. Moreover, employers of more than five people must prepare a written health and safety policy and bring it to the attention of employees. •Requires employers to ensure that non-employees (eg pupils/students) who may be affected by work activities are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. Where young or vulnerable persons may be affected, the duty of care is greater. •Places a duty on anyone responsible for the workplace to ensure that the premises, plant and machinery do not endanger the people using them. •Requires employers to prevent and control harmful, noxious or offensive emissions into the atmosphere. •Places duties on designers, manufacturers and suppliers to ensure that articles and substances are safe for use. •States that it is the duty of every employee while at work to take reasonable care of him or herself and of any other person who may be affected by his or her actions. This section also requires employees to cooperate with their employer in relation to health and safety issues. •Requires employees not to interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interest of health and safety.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 The main requirement of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations is that employers must carry out risk assessments to eliminate or reduce risks. Employers with five or more employees need to record the significant findings of a risk assessment - it is not necessary to record risk assessments for trivial or insignificant risks. In addition, employers also need to: •make arrangements for implementing the health and safety measures identified as necessary by risk assessments •monitor and review those arrangements
•appoint people with sufficient knowledge, skills, experience and training to help them to implement these arrangements •set up emergency procedures and provide information about them to employees •provide clear information, supervision and training for employees and ensure that suitably competent people are appointed who are capable of carrying out the tasks entrusted to them •work together with any other employer(s) operating from the same workplace, sharing information on the risks that other staff may be exposed to, eg cleaning, catering or maintenance contractors •take particular account of risks to new and expectant mothers.
Two duties the law imposes
The law imposes on you is to manage the health...