The Government Legislation Of Health And Safety Construction Essay

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According to the government's legislation website the prime objectives of the 1974 Health and safety at work act are;

(a) To ensure the health, welfare and safety of people whilst they are at work;

(b) To ensure the protection of people other than persons at work against risks to their health and safety that may arise due to the activities of persons who are working;

(c) To control the storage and use of explosives, highly flammable or in any way dangerous substances, and to prevent the illegal acquisition, possession or use of any such substances;

(d) To control the release of any toxic, noxious, dangerous or offensive substances into the atmosphere. [1]

As individuals we also have responsibilities, these include;

(a) Taking all reasonable steps to insure the health and safety of ourselves and others who could be affected by our actions or lack of actions at work;

(b) To cooperate with any requirement or obligation regarding health and safety put in place by our employer. [2]

There are a different set of regulations regarding health and safety for young people, these are known as the Health & Safety (Young Persons) Regulations 1997. They state that employers are required to:

•Assess risks to any young person under the age of 18 before they are allowed to start work

•Consider any specific factors regarding young people when carrying out the risk assessment

•Consider their relative inexperience and the possibility of a lack of awareness about risks, existing or potential, due to their relative inexperience and immaturity.

•Provide to the parents and guardians of children and young people information about risks, and determine if there are any tasks/duties that they should be prohibited from carrying out.[3]

Hazards can exist in many forms in a workshop environment, these can include (But are not limited to.); machinery, hazardous chemicals/substances, high voltages, high noise levels and heavy equipment/materials. These hazards can be overcome through a combination of staff training (Manual handling, training on equipment etc.), PPE and safety equipment (goggles, ear defenders, gloves etc.) and good COSHH practices.

According to the European "Waste framework directive" waste is defined as "Any substance or object the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard".[4] There are 3 major forms of waste;

Always hazardous, for example lead acid batteries or fluorescent tubes.

Never hazardous, for example edible oil

May, or may not, be hazardous and need to be assessed, for example ink or paint

Non hazardous waste is usually disposed of by incineration or through dumping in a landfill. Hazardous waste however must be handled according to the risks that it poses. Some methods of disposal include; recycling, combining with cement (To stabilise chemicals), chemical neutralisation (Balance ph to make chemicals inert.), incineration, specialist hazardous waste landfill and pyrolysis (Ultra high temperature electrical arc incinerator.).

A search of the internet will reveal many companies offing "manual handling" training; however a little common sense is all that is really required!

1. Stand in front of the item you wish to lift.

2. Check to see if the item has handles you can use.

3. Know where you want to take the item.

4. Place your feet approximately shoulder width apart.

5. Keep your back straight.

6. Squat down bending your knees NOT your back.

7. Take a firm grip with both hands.

8. Try to spread the weight evenly.

9. Keep the object as close as possible to your body, stand up by straightening your legs.

10. Stand up slowly.

11. When walking with the object take small steps where possible.

12. If you are carrying a large object that prevents you from seeing properly, ask someone to guide you.

13. Put the item down by bending your legs NOT your back.

14. Lower the object one side at a time to ensure that your fingers do not get caught underneath.

It is important that you ensure that managers/supervisors/colleagues are aware of where you are working. This means that in the event of an emergency or incident (e.g. fire), you can be easily found and time isn`t wasted searching for you. Also, especially when working in the aircraft industry, it means that colleagues won`t operate equipment/aircraft functions (Hydraulics etc) accidentally causing you injury. Whilst it is perfectly acceptable to write your location (On a location board etc.) it is better to verbally inform people if you are working out of sight in a potentially hazardous environment. This ensures that you can check their understanding and confirm that they are 100% aware of your EXACT location/position.

There are many potential hazards in the workplace (Unsafe equipment, spills, trip hazards, chemicals etc.) If you see anything that has the potential to cause harm you MUST report it to your line manager/supervisor as soon as is reasonably possible.

When working in a potentially hazardous environment you should be issued appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Protective overalls/coveralls will usually be issued to anyone in a workshop environment. These tight fitting clothes reduce the risk of clothing being caught in machinery. Goggles are issued for drilling/sanding/filing and any other activities that open the risk of foreign objects entering the eyes. Ear defenders/ear plugs are issued when using machinery that may operate at volumes over 80db (On a daily basis) or if you are exposed to volumes in excess of 137db (For brief periods/very occasionally). Dust masks and breathing apparatus may be issued for working in smoky/particulate/chemical environments. There are many examples of PPE and employers must tailor their equipment to cope with any eventuality that a staff member may be exposed to.

According to the HSE website, the Management of Health and Safety at Work`s main requirements are

To carry out a risk assessment. If a company has 5 or more employees they MUST record any significant findings discovered by the risk assessment.

Make arrangements for acting upon any health and safety requirements that have been identified by the risk assessment;

Appoint suitable people (Either themselves or colleagues) to carry out the arrangements;

Arrange clear procedures to deal with emergencies.

Provide suitable information and adequate training to all employees;

If a workplace is shared ALL employers MUST work together. [5]

According to the LHC (London Hazards Centre) website The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations main provisions are;

Employer's Responsibility - Employers must ensure compliance with the WHSW Regulations for all premises that they have under their control. (Regulation 4)

Maintenance - Employers must maintain the workplace and any equipment required by the WHSW Regulations in safe working order. Regular maintenance must be carried out and records must be kept. (Regulation 5)

Cleaning - Workplaces should be kept clean by a safe method. (Regulation 9)

Space - Employees must be able to move around freely and get to and from workstations. (Regulation 10)

Workstations - Workstations must be suitable for the user to safely carry out their work. A chair MUST be provided if practical. (Regulation 11)

Floors and stairs - Should be well maintained and kept clear in a hazard free manner. (Regulation 12)

Falls from Heights - Measures must be taken to prevent falls from height or falls into dangerous substances, this includes fences and safety railings.(Regulation 13)

Windows - Must be made of shatterproof/safety materials where possible. (Regulation 15 & 16)

Movement - People must be able to move safely around the workplace, therefore where possible separate pedestrian/vehicle routes must be provided and correctly signposted. (Regulation 17)

Doors and gates - Must be correctly made/fitted and equipped with safety equipment (Automatic locks, closing etc.) where appropriate (Regulation 18)

Escalators - Moving walkways and escalators must have at least one emergency stop button and other safety features as appropriate (Regulation 19)

Toilets and washing - Bathrooms and toilet facilities must be fit for purpose, adequately lit and ventilated and kept in a clean and serviceable condition. (Regulations 20 and 21)

Water - Employers must provide suitable drinking water and washing up facilities for non-disposable cups. (Regulation 22).

Lockers & changing rooms - Provision must be made for workers' clothing that is not worn at work and any special work clothing which is not taken home. Separate changing facilities for men and women are needed. (Regulations 23 and 24).

Meals and restrooms - Provision must be made to eat meals at work if required, your desk can count as a suitable facility. Also provision must be made for pregnant women or nursing mothers(Regulation 25)[6]

The Provision and use of work equipment regulations ensures that equipment that is provided for use at work is:

Suitable for use for which it is intended;

Safe to use, correctly maintained in a safe condition and inspected when necessary to ensure that it remains fit for purpose;

Used only by people who are adequately trained and provided with relevant information and instruction;

Accompanied by appropriate safety measures, such as protective equipment (PPE), safety markings or warning signs/posters.[7]

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations state that employers should:

Avoid dangerous Manual Handling Operations wherever possible.

Assess Manual Handling Operations that cannot be reasonably avoided.

Reduce, as far as possible, any risk of injury.

The main requirement of the PPE at Work Regulations 1992 is that personal protective equipment must be supplied at work and where it has been supplied it must be used if there are risks to the individual that cannot be reasonably and adequately controlled via any other means.

The Regulations also require that PPE:

Is fully assessed before it is used, in order to ensure its suitability for the purpose;

Is stored and maintained properly in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions;

Is supplied with instructions as to its correct use;

Is used correctly whenever needed.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations is written in order to protect the health of workers by reducing risks associated with working with computer monitors and VDUs. The regulations state that employers must:

Reduce risks to the employee by assessing workstations.

Ensure that workstations meet the minimum legal requirements

Try and vary work activities and plan in breaks where possible.

Give free eyesight tests to all employees, and provide special glasses if they are needed.

Provide training on safe methods of work.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) governs the storage, use and disposal of potentially hazardous chemicals within the workplace. They state that employers must;

Assess any potential risks to health.

Take adequate precautions.

Prevent or limit any exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals.

Make sure that measures to control exposure are followed and correctly maintained, and that all safety procedures are correctly followed.

Monitor exposure to chemicals and carry out health screening measures wherever necessary.

Ensure that all staff are fully informed about risks, correctly trained and adequately supervised.

In conclusion the raft of Health and Safety regulations within the workplace are complex but very necessary in order to protect employees from harm across many activities throughout there working lives.