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Health and Safety Handbook

The Commercial Group at Charnwood Borough Council have produced a Health and Safety Handbook which has been distributed to low risk businesses in the borough where they no longer form part of the proactive inspection programme.

This Health and Safety Handbook provides employers and employees with an outline of the health and safety legislation and guidance that may be applicable to their work activities. The guidance makes references to leaflets or publications that can be obtained from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 6FS, Tel; 01787 881165, Fax; 01787 313995 for further information. The leaflets are also available on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

You are advised to complete the online health and safety questionnaire which will take you through the contents of the health and safety handbook and assist you in assessing whether you have addressed all relevant health and safety legislation. The manager or person in charge at this premise should read through the handbook and complete the questionnaire regarding your workplace. It is important to refer to the handbook when completing the questionnaire so that the questions are fully understood. This department is required to regularly assess the businesses in the borough for health and safety enforcement purposes, however this is not always carried out by a routine health and safety visit, therefore if you are a new business or have recently changed hands then you are advised to submit the online questionnaire to update this departments records and so that an assessment can be made of your business activities. Do not be afraid to answer negatively to any of the questions as long as you clearly indicate in the action plan what you intend to do to remedy the situation.

Handbook Contents

The following health and safety issues may be applicable to your work activities. Click on the headings below to quickly find the related information on the page:

Health & Safety Poster for Employees

The Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations 1989 requires that an employer must either display the approved Health and Safety Law poster in a prominent position or give each employee the approved leaflet.

The employer must also provide the following addresses:

Enforcing Authority
Charnwood Borough Council,
Southfield Road,
LE11 2TX
Tel; 01509 634628

Employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS)
City Gate West
Level 6 (First Floor)
Toll House Hill
Tel; 0115 9712800

Health and Safety Law Poster ISBN 0 7176 2493 5
Health and Safety Law Leaflet ISBN 0 7176 1702 5

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Employers' Liability Insurance

The Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 requires employers to insure against their liability to pay damages for bodily injury or disease sustained by their employees arising out of and in the course of their employment.

You must be insured for at least £5m. However, you should look carefully at your risks and liabilities and consider whether you need insurance cover of more than £5m. In practice, most insurers offer cover of at least £10m.

You must display a copy of the certificate of insurance where your employees can easily read it and the copies must be kept for 40 years.

Public liability insurance is different. It covers you for claims made against you by members of the public or other businesses, but not for claims against employees. While public liability is generally voluntary, employers’ liability insurance is compulsory.

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Managing Health and Safety

Successful companies share the view that 'Good Health and Safety is good business'. Many companies find improving workplace standards provides a financial benefit to the company. Investments are repaid, for example:

  • Improved productivity and efficiency
  • Less staff absence
  • Less staff turnover
  • Improved quality of work

Cost effective investment in health and safety is valuable as any investment in your company.

As well as the financial benefit of managing health and safety, there is a legal requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 that 'every employer shall make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the nature of his activities and the size of the undertaking, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventative and protective measures'

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Health & Safety Policy

Under The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 it is the duty of every employer to prepare and as often as may be appropriate, revise a written statement of his general policy with respect to the health and safety at work of his employees and the organisation and arrangements for the time being in force for carrying out that policy, and to bring that statement and any revision of it to the notice of all his employees. If you have five or more employees then you must have a documented health and safety policy.

A health and safety policy must consist of three parts:

  • A general statement of the company policy which should be signed by the Managing Director or proprietor, and dated
  • The organisation for achieving this
  • The arrangements for ensuring health and safety in the workplace

Further information on safety policies and an example template is available at the link below.

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Risk Assessment

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 an employer must carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of their work activities.

A risk assessment is nothing more than a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. The important things you need to decide are whether a HAZARD IS SIGNIFICANT and whether you have it covered by satisfactory precautions so the RISK IS SMALL.

"HAZARD " means anything that can cause harm (eg chemicals, electricity, working from ladders etc).

"RISK " is the chance, high or low that somebody will be harmed by the hazard.

The leaflet ‘Five Steps to Risk Assessment’ provides further information on how to carry out risk assessments.

If you have five or more employees then you are required to write down the significant findings of your risk assessments.

The leaflet describes the following five steps:

Step 1: Look for the hazards

Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how

Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide whether the existing precautions are adequate or whether more should be done.

Step 4: Record your findings

Step 5: Review your risk assessment and revise it if necessary.

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Young Persons

As an employer you must ensure that young persons (under 18) employed are protected at work from any risks to their health or safety which are a consequence of their lack of experience, or absence of awareness of existing or potential risks or the fact that young persons have not yet fully matured.

A young person’s risk assessment must be carried out before they start work. Further guidance is available in the priced publication ‘Young people at work: A guide for employers’ HSG 165 ISBN 0 7176 1889 7, or ‘The right start Work experience for young people: Health and Safety basics for employers’ leaflet.

If you employ a child under the age of 16 then you need to contact Leicestershire County Council regarding work permits, the occupations in which a child may be employed, the byelaws regarding such activities, and provide the parents or guardians of the child information on the significant findings of your risk assessment before they start work.

Further guidance can be obtained from
Education Welfare Services, Child Employment,
Leicestershire County Council

Tel; 0116 2656440

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New & Expectant Mothers

Your risk assessments should also include any specific risks to females of childbearing age who could become pregnant and any risks to new and expectant mothers.

Some of the more common risks that need to be considered are:

  • Lifting/carrying of heavy loads
  • Standing or sitting for long lengths of time
  • Exposure to infectious disease
  • Exposure to lead
  • Work-related stress
  • Workstations and posture
  • Exposure to radioactive material
  • Threat of violence in the workplace
  • Long working hours
  • Excessively noisy workplaces

Further information can be found in the leaflet ‘A guide for New and Expectant Mothers who work’ " or the priced publication ‘New and Expectant Mothers at work: A guide for employers’ HSG122 ISBN 0 7176 2583 4.

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Work Related Stress

The most recent survey in 2001/02 revealed that in Britain 13.5 million working days are lost each year due to work-related stress. Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure. It isn’t a disease, but if stress is intense and goes on for some time, it can lead to mental and physical ill health. Where stress caused or made worse by work could lead to ill health, you must assess the risk. A risk assessment for stress involves;

  • Looking for pressures at work that could cause high and long lasting levels of stress
  • Deciding who might be harmed by these
  • Deciding whether you are doing enough to prevent that harm
  • If necessary, you must then take reasonable steps to deal with those pressures

Further information can be found in the leaflet ‘Tackling stress: The Management Standards Approach - A short guide’.

Also available are the priced publications ‘Tackling work-related stress: A managers’ guide to improving and maintaining employee health and well-being’ HSG218 ISBN 0 7176 2050 6.

‘Real solutions, real people: A managers’ guide to tackling work-related stress’ ISBN 0 7176 2767 5.

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Work Related Violence

The HSE’s definition of work related violence is ‘any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work’. Employees whose job requires them to deal with the public can be at risk from violence, therefore a risk assessment must be carried out.

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Legionnaires Disease

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria. Infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria. The disease cannot be passed from one person to another. Legionella bacteria may contaminate and grow in cooling towers and hot and cold water services. They survive low temperatures and thrive at temperatures between 20°C - 45°C if the conditions are right, eg if a supply of nutrients is present such as rust, sludge, scale, algae and other bacteria. They are killed by high temperatures.

For an office environment you must ensure that any water storage is kept in a clean condition, and outside the temperature range of 20°C - 45°C, and if any showers are provided or if water droplets are formed e.g ‘wet’ air conditioning system or a water fountain then a more detailed assessment should be carried out.

There is a requirement to do specific risk assessments under separate regulations, but they can be included in your general risk assessments.

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Fire Risk Assessments

On 6th October 2006 the Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into effect replacing most previous fire safety legislation with one simple order.

It means that any person who has some level of control in premises must take reasonable steps to reduce the risks from fire and make sure people can esacpe if there is a fire.

The order is enforced by the Fire Authority, and they can be contacted at;

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service
Fire and Rescue Headquarters
Anstey Frith
Leicester Road

Tel; 0116 2872241

You must:

  • Carry out a fire-risk assessment identifying any possible dangers and risks:
  • Consider who may be especially at risk;
  • Get rid or reduce the risk from fire as far as is reasonably practicable and provide general fire precautions to deal with any possible risk left;
  • Take other measures to make sure there is`protection if flammable or explosive materials are used or stored;
  • Create a plan to deal with any emergency and, in most cases, keep a record of your findings; and
  • Review your findings when necessary.

Guidance is available in the leaflet "A short guide to making your premises safe from fire" and also in the various guides which can be accessed on the link below.

Alternatively contact Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service on 0116 287 2241 who will provide advice and fire risk assessment guidance.

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Dangerous Substances

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 require you to risk assess the dangerous substances used or stored as part of your work activity. Dangerous substances include; petrol; liquefied petroleum gas (LPG); paints; varnishes; solvents and dusts which when mixed with air could cause an explosive atmosphere.

You must:

  • Carry out a risk assessment of any work activities including dangerous substances
  • Provide measures to eliminate or reduce risks so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Provide equipment and procedures to deal with accidents and emergencies
  • Provide information and training to employees
  • Classify places where explosive atmospheres may occur into zones and mark the zones where necessary

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Hazardous Substances

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 require you to assess the risks to health presented by any hazardous substance which you, your staff or any other person may encounter as a result of your business activities. Then inform, instruct and train employees about matters relating to hazardous substances they work with.

Firstly you should obtain the hazard data sheets for all hazardous chemicals to which employees or others are liable to be exposed as a result of work activities, the supplier or manufacturer of the product is obliged to provide this information free of charge. Look for the orange symbols, indicating harmful, irritant, corrosive, toxic etc. The recommendations of the data sheets concerning the use, handling, storage and transport of hazardous chemicals must be followed, in particular by the provision of appropriate personal protective equipment and the means of dealing with accidental contact, ingestion or spillage. Staff must be made aware of the contents of the data sheets, the harmful effects of the chemicals and the precautions to be taken.

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REACH or Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals is a new system for controlling chemicals in Europe.

Chemicals that are manufactured or imported into the EU will need to be registered with the new European Chemical Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki.

As a user of chemicals, it is designed to provide more information on chemicals and increase confidence in their safe use through improved safety data sheets.

For further information then visit the link below;

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If staff are classified as users or operators of computers then there are specific requirements under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. It will generally be appropriate to classify the person concerned as a user or operator if they:

  • Normally use display screen equipment (DSE) for continuous or near continuous spells of an hour or more at a time
  • Use DSE in this way more or less daily
  • Have to transfer information quickly to or from the DSE; and also need to apply high levels of attention and concentration; or are highly dependant on DSE or have little choice about using it or need special training or skills to use DSE

If you employ users or operators then you must:

  • Carry out a suitable and sufficient analysis of those workstations used by users or operators for the purpose of assessing the health and safety risks to which those persons are exposed in consequence of that use. The Schedule to the regulations details minimum workstation requirements
  • Plan the activities of users at work is periodically interrupted by such breaks or changes of activity as reduce the workload at that equipment
  • The provision of eyetests if requested by the user
  • Provide adequate health and safety training and information in the use of the workstation

Further information can be found in the leaflet ‘Working with VDU’s’. However you are recommended to purchase one of the following two publications, which include a display screen assessment checklist.

  • The law on VDUs: An easy guide: Making sure your office complies with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (as amended in 2002) HSG90 ISBN 0 7176 2602 4
  • Work with display screen equipment: Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments)Regulations 2002. Guidance on regulations. L26 (second edition) ISBN 0 7176 2582 6

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Work Related Upper Limb Disorders

Work related upper limb disorders (WRULDs), which are often called repetitive strain injury (RSI) are problems with the shoulder and arm, including the forearm, elbow, wrist, hand and fingers, and can include neck pain. Computer use and assembly work are frequently associated with upper limb disorders. There is a wide range of symptoms, such as tenderness, aches and pain, stiffness, weakness, tingling, numbness, cramp or swelling. The symptoms may be slight, but even if they are, they should not be ignored.

WRULD’s can be caused by a variety of work tasks involving, for example, forceful or repetitive activity, or by poor posture. The way that the work is organised and managed can cause ULD’s as well as make them worse.

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The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 require that you assess the vibration risk to your employees if your business involves the regular and frequent use of:

  • Hand-held power tools
  • Hand-guided powered equipment
  • Powered machines which process hand-held material

then you need to obtain the leaflet 'Control the risks from hand - arm vibration - Advice for employers on the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005' to assist you in carrying out this assessment.

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Manual Handling

More than a third of all over-three-day injuries reported each year to the enforcing authorities are caused by manual handling – the transporting or supporting of loads by hand or by bodily force. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 require employers to:

  • Avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Assess the risk of injury from any hazardous manual handling that can’t be avoided
  • Reduce the risk of injury from hazardous manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable

You need to assess the task, load, working environment and individual capacity.

You are advised to obtain a copy of the leaflet ‘Getting to grips with manual handling – A short guide’ and access the HSE’s website on musculoskeletal disorders and the Manual Handling Assessment Chart (MAC) Tool to assist you in your assessment.

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The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 require employers to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work.

The Regulations require you as an employer to;

  • Assess the risks to your employees from noise at work;
  • Take action to reduce the noise exposure that produces those risks;
  • Provide your employees with hearing protection if you cannot reduce the noise exposure enough by using other methods;
  • Make sure the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded;
  • Provide your employees with information, instruction and training; and
  • Carry out health surveillance where there is a risk to health.

Further information is available in the leaflet 'Noise at Work - Guidance for Employers on the Control of Noise at Work' or by visiting the HSE's website on the link below.

Employers in the music and entertainment sectors have until 6 April 2008 to comply with the Regulations. Meanwhile they must still comply with the previous Noise at Work Regulations 1989.

Further guidance will be available for this industry in the form of 'Sound Advice' in the near future. Click on the web link below for further information.

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Personal Protective Equipment

The main requirement of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992 is that personal protective equipment is to be supplied and used at work whenever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways. Considered to be the last resort, but where it is the only effective means of controlling the risk then employers must ensure that it is available for use at work – free of charge.

Further information is available in the leaflet ‘A short guide to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992’.

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First Aid

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require you to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to enable first aid to be given to your employees if they are injured or become ill at work. What is adequate and appropriate will depend on the circumstances in your workplace and you should assess what your first needs are.

The minimum first-aid provision on any work site is

  • A suitably stocked first aid box
  • An ‘Appointed Person’ to take charge of first aid arrangement

An ‘Appointed Person’ is someone who takes charge when someone is injured or falls ill, including calling an ambulance if required and looks after the first-aid equipment, e.g. restocking the first-aid box.

An ‘Appointed Person’ is not a ‘First Aider’, a ‘First Aider’ is someone who has undergone a training course in administering first aid at work and holds a current first aid at work certificate approved by HSE.

Guidance for lower risk e.g. shops and offices, libraries;
Fewer than 50 employees, at least one ‘Appointed Person’.

50 – 100 employees, at least one ‘First Aider’

More than 100 employees, one additional ‘First Aider’ for every 100 employed.

You have to inform your employees of the first aid arrangements.

Further information can be found in the leaflet ‘First Aid at Work – Your Questions Answered’.

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The Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979 requires that all injuries to employees regardless of how minor they may appear to be, are recorded in an accident book kept on the premises, where ten or more persons are employed at any one time. Accidents books should now be compliant with data protection legislation. It is recommended that you record this information even if you have less than ten employees.

There is no requirement for injuries to non employees to be recorded in an accident book unless they are reportable under RIDDOR (see below), however it is recommended that they are recorded for your own information and assessment and also if any claims are made against the business.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) requires the employer, self employed or person in control of a work premises to report some work-related accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences.

You need to report the following:

Death or Major Injury

If there is an accident connected with work and:

  • Your employee, or a self employed person working on your premises is killed or suffers a major injury
  • A member of the public is killed or taken to hospital

Over-Seven-Day Injury

As of 6 April 2012 the over-three-day reporting requirement has changed.  The trigger point is now over seven days incapacitation (not counting the day on which the accident happened). Incapacitation means that the worker is absent or is unable to do work that they would reasonably be expected to do as part of their normal work.  You must still keep a record of over-three-day injuries in your accident book.  The deadline for reporting these accidents has increased to fifteen days from the date of the accident.


If a doctor notifies you that a employee suffers from a reportable work-related disease.

Dangerous Occurrence

If something happens which does not result in a reportable injury, but which clearly could have done, it may be a dangerous occurrence.

More details can be found in the leaflet ‘RIDDOR Explained’.  Reporting of accidents changed from the 12 September 2011 and now you must only telephone the Incident Contact Centre if you are reporting a fatality or a major injury to an employee.

You need to report the incident to the Incident Contact Centre (ICC) as soon as possible by one of the following methods;

You must keep a record of any reportable injury, disease or dangerous occurrence for three years after the date on which it happened.  The online forms once completed will be forwarded to the correct enforcing authority.

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Information, Instruction & Training

The following must be provided to employees;

INFORMATION – Factual material to people about risks and health and safety measures in place, e.g. the significant findings of a risk assessment.

INSTRUCTION - Telling people what they should and should not do.

TRAINING - Helping them to learn how to do it.

In particular, you need to have systems in place for induction training, i.e. the company’s safety policy and the arrangements you have made to deal with health and safety matters and also when employees are exposed to new or increased risks. Employers must when entrusting tasks to employees, take into account their capabilities as regards health and safety and provide them with adequate health and safety training.

Further information can be found in the leaflet ‘Health and Safety Training - What You Need to Know’.

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Competent Person

The person responsible to assist in undertaking the measures to comply with health and safety legislation should have sufficient training and experience or knowledge of health and safety. This may be the employer, or an employee, or a consultancy firm appointed for health and safety.

There are various health and safety courses and qualifications that are available, and one that is particularly recommended is the CIEH’s Level 2 Award in Health and Safety in the Workplace, which provides a general understanding of health and safety. The course can be found using the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Officers website where they have a course finder which will guide you to courses on offer in and around our area.

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Consultation With Employees

You must consult with employees on health and safety matters. If you recognise a trade union and that trade union has appointed a safety representative, you must consult them on matter affecting the employees they represent. (Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1997).

If you do not have trade unions, you must consult employees, either directly or through an elected representative. (Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996).

Further information can be found in the leaflet ‘Consulting employees on health and safety: A guide to the law'.

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Individual contractors have a responsibility to work safely, however, you still have the legal responsibility to ensure that any work undertaken on your premises is carried out safely and in compliance with the law.

There is a duty to co-operate and co-ordinate safety measures to ensure a safe working environment.

Contractors must be informed of any relevant details in your Health and Safety Policy and any significant findings of your risk assessments, which may affect them. You must carry out a risk assessment of the activities that they are to carry out and identify if there are any additional control measures that need to be undertaken to reduce any potential hazard to as low as is reasonably practicable, for example fencing off an area and the use of signs. Liaison with window cleaning contractors etc is essential to ensure safe systems of work are adequate.

Further information can be found in the leaflet ‘Use of contractors – a joint responsibility’.

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The Workplace

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 require the following;


Ventilation – Effective and suitable provision must be made to ensure that every enclosed workspace is ventilated by a sufficient quantity of frHeaesh or purified air. Workers should not be subject to uncomfortable draughts. The fresh air supply rate should not normally fall below 5 to 8 litres per second, per occupant.

Mechanical ventilation systems (including air conditioning systems) should be regularly and properly cleaned, tested and maintained to ensure that they are kept clean and free from anything which may contaminate the air. The air that is introduced should, as far as possible, be free of any impurity which is likely to be offensive or cause ill health.

Temperature - During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings must be reasonable, and a sufficient number of thermometers must be provided to enable persons at work to determine the temperature in any workplace inside a building.

The temperature in workrooms should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsuis unless much of the work involves severe physical effort in which case the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsuis. There is no maximum temperatures stated in guidance, however when staff in the workplace are too hot, then employers need to make any assessment of the situation and consider the provision of fans, blinds, availability of water, additional rest breaks, relaxing formal dress code etc, to ensure the thermal comfort of their employees.

An acceptable zone for thermal comfort for most people in the UK lies roughly between 13ºC (56ºF) and 30ºC (86ºF), with acceptable temperatures for more strenuous work activities concentrated towards the bottom end of the range, and more sedentary activities towards the higher end.

Lighting – The workplace must have suitable and sufficient lighting, so far as is reasonably practicable, by natural light. Lighting should be sufficient to enable people to work, use facilities and move from place to place safely and without experiencing eye strain.

Automatic emergency lighting, powered by independent source, should be provided where sudden loss of light would create a risk.

Cleanliness and Waste Materials – The workplace and the furniture and fittings should be kept clean and it should be possible to keep the surfaces of floors, walls and ceilings clean. Cleaning and the removal of waste should be carried out as necessary by an effective method. Waste should be stored in suitable receptacles.

Room Dimensions and Space – Workrooms should have enough free space to allow people to move about with ease. The volume of room, when empty, divided by the number of people normally working in it should be at least 11 cubic metres. All or part of a room over 3.0 m high should be counted as 3.0 m high. Eleven cubic metres per person is a minimum and may be insufficient depending on the layout, contents and the nature of the work.

Workstations and Seating – Workstations should be suitable for the people using them and for the work. People should be able to leave workstations swiftly in an emergency. If work can or must be done sitting, seats, which are suitable for the people using them and for the work done there should be provided. Seating should give adequate support for the lower back, and footrest should be provided for workers who cannot place their feet flat on the floor.


Maintenance – The workplace and the equipment, devices and systems provided must be maintained (including cleaned as appropriate) in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

Floors and Traffic Routes – There should be sufficient traffic routes, of sufficient width and headroom, and organised to allow people and vehicles to circulate safely with ease.

Every year about 70 people are killed in accidents involving vehicles at the workplace. The leaflet 'Workplace Transport Safety - An Overview' will assist you in assessing your workplace transport arrangements.

Floors and traffic routes should be sound and strong enough for the loads placed on them and the traffic expected to use them. The surfaces should not have holes, be uneven or slippery and should be kept free of obstructions.

The most common cause of non fatal major injuries to employees is a slip, trip or fall on the same level. Further information can be found in the ‘Preventing slips and trips at work’ leaflet or

Open sides of staircases should be fenced with an upper rail at 900mm or higher and a lower rail. A handrail should be provided on at least one side of every staircase and on both sides if there is a particular risk.

Transparent or Translucent Doors, Gates or Walls and Windows – windows, transparent or translucent surfaces in walls, partitions, doors and gates should, where necessary for reasons of health and safety, be made of safety material or be protected against breakage. If there is a danger of people coming into contact with it, it should be marked or incorporate features to make it apparent.

Openable windows and the ability to clean them safely - should be capable of being opened, closed or adjusted safely and, when open, should not be dangerous. They should also be designed so that they can be cleaned safely.

Doors and gates – should be suitably constructed and fitted with safety devices if necessary.

Escalators and moving walkways – they should function safely, be equipped with any necessary safety devices, and be fitted with one or more emergency stop controls which are easily and readily accessible.


Sanitary conveniences and washing facilities – Suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences and washing facilities should be provided at readily accessible places. They and the rooms containing them should be kept clean and be adequately ventilated and lit. Washing facilities should have running hot and cold or warm water, soap and clean towels or other means of cleaning or drying.

Drinking water – An adequate supply of wholesome drinking water, with an upward drinking jet or suitable cups, should be provided.

Accommodation for clothing and facilities for changing – Adequate, suitable and secure space should be provided to store workers’ own clothing and special clothing.

Facilities for rest and to eat meals – Suitable and sufficient, readily accessible, rest facilities should be provided. They should include suitable facilities to eat meals where meals are regularly eaten in the workplace and the food would otherwise be likely to become contaminated.
Further information regarding the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 can be found in the leaflet ‘Workplace health, safety & welfare- a short guide for managers’.

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Work at Height

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 apply to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. You must do all that is reasonably practicable to prevent anyone falling. Duty holders must:

  • Avoid work at height where they can
  • Use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls where they cannot avoid working at height
  • Where they cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur

The Regulations also require that duty holders ensure:

  • All work at height is properly planned and organised
  • All work at height takes into account of weather conditions that could endanger safety
  • Those who are involved in work at height are trained and competent
  • The place where work at height is done is safe
  • Equipment for work at height is appropriately inspected
  • The risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled
  • The risks from falling objects are properly controlled

Identify all activities that are carried out at a height and suitably assess in accordance with these Regulations, further information is available in the leaflet ‘The Work at Height Regulations 2005 – A brief guide’ INDG 401 or by visiting the HSE website.

On average 13 people a year die at work falling from ladders and nearly 1200 suffer major injuries. More than a quarter of falls happen from ladders. HSE's key message is that ladders should only be used for low-risk, short duration work. The leaflet 'Safe use of ladders and stepladders' provides further information.

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Work Equipment

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 require that equipment provided for use at work is:

  • Suitable for the intended use
  • Safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and, in certain circumstances, inspected to ensure this remains the case
  • Used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training
  • Accompanied by suitable safety measures, eg protective devices, markings, warnings

Further information is available in the leaflet ‘Simple guide to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998’.

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The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that all electrical systems (including equipment) must, so far as is reasonably practicable, be maintained so as to prevent danger.

The Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) recommends that commercial premises are inspected by a competent electrical engineer every 5 years.

Portable appliances should be subject to user checks, periodic formal visual inspection and where necessary combined inspection and testing as explained in the leaflet ‘Maintaining portable electrical equipment in offices and other low-risk environments’

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It is a legal requirement under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 for all gas appliances to be regularly maintained by a competent person who is a Gas Safe Registered Engineer (this has replaced CORGI from April 2009). To check if they are registered and also the type of work that they are licensed to carry out then telephone 0800 4085500 or visit their website on the link below.

It is recommended that service checks are carried out at least annually or to a timescale as specified by the Gas Safe Register operative and that written details of the service check are kept along with any necessary resultant remedial work.

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Pressure Vessels

Under the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000, a written scheme of examination is required for most pressure systems e.g. compressor. Further information can be found in the leaflet ‘Pressure systems – safety and you’.

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Last updated: Mon 28th April, 2014 @ 12:50

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