This Act was introduced in 1974 as a further means of improving working conditions, welfare and safety for UK workers and the self employed. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is also known as the HASAW and concentrates not only on occupational health regulations, but also on the well being of visitors to a business premises.
The Health and Safety Executive through its staff and inspectors is responsible for introducing guidelines and enforcing the legislation and its schedules.
The HASAW covers the general duties relating to workplace activities, where trade is carried out like shops, offices and even communal parks etc. Listed below are just some of the areas where companies must take all reasonable care in ensuring safety for all. It covers workers having to work with highly flammable and harmful hazardous chemicals in industrial units. This includes handling, storage as well as transportation. Anyone working with dangerous substances like asbestos, which can give off harmful emissions. The Act covers not just the potential release of these emissions in an enclosed work environment but also into the general atmosphere.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 produces and enforces an approved code of practice for manufacturers to do with the use of all types of machinery. This can be agricultural equipment used by farm workers, or machines used by factory workers. In relation to this example, the HSE implies that it is the duty of companies to maintain, and when necessary repair its plant machinery to ensure it is in good working order and safe to use. The legislation is occasionally updated by the Secretary of State, and changes must be acted upon.
Employers will usually introduce practical work practices to minimize recklessness and accidents only after consultations with workers representatives as well as trade unions. This is particularly the case in the public sector and local authorities where practices like fire training procedures are more common than in the private sector.
It is also a requirement to display in a workplace a Health and Safety Law poster, as well as a written statement giving details of the Act, as well as a contact name in the company.