The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 The Health & Safety at Work Act (HASWA) was first published in 1974 and, following consultation, became law on April 1st 1975. The act introduced the concept of “Goal Setting” in which the end results expected are clearly specified. It is then up to employers to make arrangements to achieve the results. This places the onus upon employers to take all reasonable and practicable steps to look after the health, safety and welfare of their employers.
They must look at the risks their employees are exposed to and then take steps to remove those risks. H M Factory Inspectorate, along with Environmental Health Officers police the act. They will look at any given risk in the work place and offset that risk against both the cost and inconvenience of removing it.
The decision as to whether the actions taken by the Employer were reasonable and practicable can only be decided in a court of law. Punitive Punishments are available to the courts for breaches of the Health & Safety Legislation including an unlimited fine and up to two years imprisonment! From time to time the government brings out various alterations to the legislation and one of the most far reaching of these changes occurred on 1st January 1993 with the introduction of the so called “six pack” regulations.
This in itself has been updated with the introduction of LOLER and PUWER in December 1998.