After researching the Health and Safety at Work Act I can see that it gives clear guidelines and practices that should be followed within the workplace. Each individual workplace will hold their own policies on Health and Safety which should follow and implement the guidelines set out in the Act. The Act was introduced in 1974 and has been continuously reviewed and updated to reflect changes in work practices, the introduction of new industries and the changes in the way the legislation is monitored and enforced. The Act was originally devised to provide 'encouragement' for employers and employees to provide safe work environments. It provided 'regulation' and 'clarity' to employers and employees on what the minimum standards needed to be and how this could be achieved. There was an element of 'enforcement' included that clearly showed a set of sanctions that would be put in place for any setting/workplace that failed to meet the provisions of the Act. The ultimate sanction would be prosecution through the criminal courts for any failings, this could result in fines and up to 2 years imprisonment. The less serious breeches would generally result in improvement orders being issued these gave employers set time scaled to rectify problems and make relevant modifications that would insure their workplace became compliant. The Act included the introduction of 2 regulatory bodies (which have now become 1) The Health and Safety Executive and The Health and Safety Commission. Their roles were to communicate and oversee the implementation of the regulations in the workplace and to police and monitor them. Their role included providing advice to employers and employees on how to create and maintain safe working systems. An important aspect of the recent Health and Safety at Work Act is that it reflects all workplace issues and the guidance and advice provided can be tailored to specific sectors. A general point of the Act is that hazards and / or issues that pose a risk to health and safety can not always be removed completely therefore advice and guidance must be given on how to keep the risks to a minimal. For example there will always be a need for someone to work at heights the risk of falling will always be present, this risk can be reduced by using appropriate equipment such as a ladder or platform and undertaking the relevant training. In my setting we ensure that this Act is followed by holding our own policy that relates to the legislation set out in this act and ensuring that all staff follow the guidelines and participate in all relevant training on a regular basis.
COSHH this stand for 'The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health' and is recorded in the statue books as its own Act this Act is known as 'The Guidance on the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002' this act controls the way in which any substance which may be deemed hazardous to health should be used and managed to reduce the risk that it poses to people and the environment. This act is structured in a similar way to the Health and Safety at Work Act in that it provides encouragement, regulation and enforcement and also provides advice and guidance. The legislation provides advice on what levels of exposure are safe and what levels may become hazardous, this leads to regulation and guidance on how companies and organisations can operate 'health surveillance' to routinely ensure that they are operation appropriately and safely.
In my setting we follow the act by ensuring that all substances are stored safely and securely. All staff are given the correct level of training and know how to use the substances correctly. We hold our own ~Health and Safety policy that includes COSHH and provide safety equipment where needed this includes aprons, gloves and safety glasses. We also provide advice to staff on what can be used where and how to use it appropriately.
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