H&S Legislation and HSE Information
The main reason why you should spend some time looking through the list of regulations below is they are all there to protect your health and safety when you are at work.
The list below is not an exhaustive one, but it serves as a convenient reference source of all the laws and HSE rules and regulations that your H&S training will often refer to.
The fundamental principle of all health and safety compliance is ignorance of the law is never accepted by the Courts as a defense for breaking it. It therefore follows that we all have a legal obligation to understand the laws and regulations that affect the way we go about our work.
Acts of Parliament
Also known as ‘primary legislation’, Acts are passed by the House of Parliament. Acts lay down the general duties to be followed by individuals and organisations operating in the UK.
Also known as ‘delegated legislation’, Regulations are issued under the name of the Secretary of State and they seek to add more detail on how the ACT should be applied to specific hazards or activities. Examples relevant to Health and Safety include:
Approved Code of Practice (ACOPs). The L-series.
ACOPS gives practical advice on how to comply with the law. If you follow the advice you will be doing enough to comply with the law in respect of those specific matters on which the Code gives advice. You may use alternative methods to those set out in the Code in order to comply with the law. However, the Code has a special legal status. If you are prosecuted for breach of health and safety law, and it is proved that you did not follow the relevant provisions of the Code, you will need to show that you have complied with the law in some other way or a Court will find you at fault.
Guidance publications are issued by the Health and Safety Executive. They contain practical advice and examples of procedures and safe working practices. Guidance publications have no legal standing and are therefore not compulsory, unless specifically stated. Organisations and individuals are free to make other arrangements, but the Courts hold that if the guidance is followed then enough will be being done to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors also seek to secure compliance with the law by using guidance publications as the minimum standard to be met.
HSE Useful information
The HSE publish a range of useful information sheets and explanations of how the ACT and regulations should be applied. Once again organisations and individuals are free to make other arrangements, but the Courts hold that if the guidance in these documents are followed then enough will be being done to comply with the law.
Electrical Safety First: Best Practice Guides
The Electical Safety First organisation publish a series of best practice guides for electricians and installers.