Health and Safety at Work
This guidance aims to give a general introduction to the role of the Council in the area of Health and Safety at work, followed by information about the key measures that business must carry out and where you can get more detailed advice. This is designed to be an introductory guide and not a comprehensive legal document.
What are the aims of our Service?
- To help new businesses understand their responsibilities and make it easier to comply with them.
- To advise employees where to get advice from and who to complain to.
- To tell owners, managers and businesses what safety laws exist.
- To provide advice to existing businesses.
- To reduce the potential for problems or accidents by making people more aware.
- To ensure that health, safety and welfare are seen as good management standards
- To provide information on the main duties and where to get more information.
- To investigate complaints, reported accidents and incidents.
- To take action to protect employees, the self employed and the public.
- To enforce the law in an appropriate manner.
If you have a complaint or need any help or information please contact us.
Health and Safety at Work Act
The main purpose of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is to secure the health and safety of everyone at work, whether employed or self-employed. The Act requires employers to regularly review equipment, premises and systems of work to identify hazards and reduce the risks to clients, employees and the self-employed.
What does Hastings Borough Council do?
Our Environment and Safety Team regularly inspect all businesses for which we have enforcement powers. We also carry out investigations into complaints or accidents. We will always:
- Explain clearly what needs to be done, why and by when and normally confirm the details in writing.
- Give the person(s) responsible the opportunity to resolve and discuss the issues before formal action is taken, unless there is any immediate danger or we believe that prompt formal action is the most appropriate approach.
- Explain in writing where immediate action must be taken.
- Explain any rights of appeal when formal action is taken.
Normally we will tell the Company or individual at the time of the inspection if anything needs to be done. If you indicate you agree with our decisions or requirements and we think no immediate formal action is needed, then we will write to the person(s) responsible to let them/you know what must be done, how and by when. Formal action will be taken if people are at risk, or have not acted on previous advice.
Our Enforcement Policy
Our Enforcement Policy aims to ensure the health, safety, welfare and employment protection duties contained in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the relevant statutory provisions as far as is reasonably necessary.
We will use our enforcement powers to protect persons at work, the self-employed and anyone who is affected by work activities. Where other enforcement agencies have a role, the Council will liaise with them.
Any enforcement action, whether verbal or written warnings, statutory notices or prosecution will be based on the assessment of:
- The hazards and risks to persons that occur or may occur.
- The level of compliance with the Act and relevant statutory provisions.
- The welfare requirements of persons at work due to failing to comply with health and safety laws.
Officers will ensure enforcement decisions are consistent, balanced, fair and relate to common standards that ensure they adequately protect the persons. In coming to any decision officers shall consider relevant criteria, eg seriousness of the offence, history, confidence in management, consequences of failure to comply and the likely effectiveness of various enforcement options.
Download our Enforcement Policy:
- Health and Safety Enforcement Policy (.pdf 65KB)
Our Service Delivery Plan
- Health and Safety Service Delivery Plan (.pdf 130KB)
Your employer has a duty under the law to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, your health, safety and welfare at work.
Your employer must consult you or your safety representative on matters relating to your health and safety at work, including:
- Any change which may substantially affect your health and safety at work, e.g. in procedures, equipment or ways of working;
- The employer's arrangements for getting competent people to help him/her satisfy health and safety laws;
- The information you have to be given on the likely risks and dangers arising from your work, measures to reduce or get rid of these risks and what you should do if you have to deal with a risk or danger;
- The planning of health and safety; and
- The health and safety consequences of introducing new technology.
In general, your employer's duties include:
- Making your workplace safe and without risks to health;
- Ensuring plant and machinery are safe and that safe systems of work are set and followed;
- Ensuring articles and substances are moved, stored and used safely;
- Providing adequate welfare facilities;
- Giving you the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary for your health and safety.
In particular, your employer must:
- Assess the risks to your health and safety;
- Make arrangements for implementing the health and safety measures identified as being necessary by the assessment;
- If there are five or more employees, record the significant findings of the risk assessment and the arrangements for health and safety measures;
- If there are five or more employees, draw up a health and safety policy statement, including the health and safety organisation and arrangements in force, and bring it to your attention;
- Appoint someone competent to assist with health and safety responsibilities, and consult you or your safety representative about this appointment;
- Co-operate on health and safety with other employers sharing the same workplace;
- Set up emergency procedures;
- Provide adequate first aid facilities;
- Make sure that the workplace satisfies health, safety and welfare requirements, e.g. for ventilation, temperature, lighting, and sanitary, washing and rest facilities;
- Make sure that work equipment is suitable for its intended use, so far as health and safety is concerned, and that it is properly maintained and used;
- Prevent or adequately control exposure to substances which may damage your health;
- Take precautions against danger from flammable or explosive hazards, electrical equipment, noise and radiation;
- Avoid hazardous manual handling operations, and where they cannot be avoided, reduce the risk of injury;
- Provide health surveillance as appropriate;
- Provide free any protective clothing or equipment, where risks are not adequately controlled by other means;
- Ensure that appropriate safety signs are provided and maintained;
- Report certain, injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences to the appropriate health and safety enforcing authority (see box below for who this is).
As an employee you have legal duties too. They include:
- Taking reasonable care for your own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by what your do or do not do;
- Co-operating with your employer on health and safety;
- Correctly using work items provided by your employer, including personal protective equipment, in accordance with training or instructions;
- Informing your employer or a person appointed with specific responsibility of safety of any serious and immediate dangers to health and safety and any shortcomings in the employers protection arrangements for health and safety; and
- Not interfering with or misusing anything provided for your health, safety or welfare.
If you think there is a health and safety problem in your workplace you should discuss it with your employer, supervisor or manager. You may also wish to discuss it with your safety representative, if there is one. You, your employer or your safety representative can get information on health and safety in confidence by contacting us, or the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) Infoline telephone service on 0300 003 1647.
Useful Information Sources
HSE and HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2WA telephone 01787 881165 or at www.hse.gov.uk
Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Lawrence Corney House, 222 Uppingham Road, Leicester LE5 0QG telephone 01533 768424 or at www.iosh.co.uk
European Agency for Health and Safety at europe.osha.eu.int
HMSO Stationery Office Legislation at www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk
Health and safety