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The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is an Act that makes further provision for securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work, for protecting others against risks to health or safety in connection with the activities of persons at work, for controlling the keeping and use and preventing the unlawful acquisition, possession and use of dangerous substances, and for controlling certain emissions into the atmosphere; and makes further provision with respect to the employment medical advisory service; to amend the law relating to building regulations, and the Building (Scotland) Act 1959; and for connected purposes. This Act is in four parts:
The introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 created a framework of legislation which covered employees in all occupations. The Health and Safety at work Act is an enabling act designed to be supported by Regulations and Approved Codes of Practice which define standards for individual industries, processes and machinery. These provisions have led to the introduction of a number of different Regulations and Approved Codes of Practice.
The regulation also requires that employers carry out risk assessments and provide employees with information and training where necessary. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 sets out more explicitly what the organisations must do to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The Health and Safety Executive has published an approved Code of Practice for use with the regulations (source: http://www.dh.gov.uk).
Some employees and subcontractors would have been recruited because of their prior training and experience, such employees and subcontractor will need an initial assessment on health and safety to check their understanding, along with information on situations relevant to such particular site premises they would be working in. However if they have specific roles within the safety organisation, they will require training for this role. Health and safety training can be easy and inexpensive to provide, particularly when combined with other training, to ensure all employees and subcontractors on site have sufficient knowledge to enable them to work in a safe and healthy environment (source: http://www.hse.gov.uk).
The Health and safety at Work Act 1974 gives the courts of law considerable possibility to punish offenders and to prevent others from getting harm. Unlimited fines and in some cases imprisonment can be imposed by higher courts. The Health and Safety Commission continues to raise the courtsââ‚¬â„¢ awareness of the gravity of health and safety offences and encourages them to make full use of their powers (source: http://www.brent.gov.uk).
Impact of investigation: increase in number of investigations due to breach in Health and Safety could be time consuming and traumatic for everyone involved. It is no longer necessary to identify and prosecute a single "directing mind". However, it will be necessary to demonstrate that the fatality was substantially due to failure on the part of senior management ââ‚¬" this may be the combined effect of failures on the part of a number of senior managers. The inevitable consequence of this shift of emphasis is that investigators will have every incentive to arrest and prosecute senior managers/directors wherever there are reasonable grounds for suspicion. Should this happen, there is potential for conflicts of interest to arise between the organisation and those who have been arrested.
Publicity: the courts can order the convicted company to publicise what has happened. In such cases, the reporting must be in accordance with what the court dictates ââ‚¬" there will be no opportunity for the Marketing department to add its own "spin" on the reports or to decide how and where the reports are to be publicised. In practice, such publicity may prove to be incidental in the light of the wider publicity that the investigation is likely to attract from the media.