Making Health And Safety In The Workplace Simpler

With hundreds of people being killed or seriously injured in work related accidents in the UK every year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are instituting changes to make the law easier to understand and improve compliance across the board.

The UK has one of the best health and safety at work records in Europe. But with 180 work related deaths in 2008, there is still much to be done to ensure the safety of all UK workers. The HSE hopes that its new drive to make compliance easier will go some way to reducing that figure.

The New Changes

The HSE is focusing on four regulations it enforces. The new changes will include:

  • Introducing a new, easier to read version of the law poster that employers must display
  • Reducing the number of forms that employers must complete
  • Simplifying arrangements for the manufacture and storage of explosives
  • Aligning chemical hazard information and packaging with new EU regulations

The HSE claims that simplification changes brought in during 2005 had saved UK businesses more than £300million and hopes that the new changes will help companies and employers save even more. But it’s not just avoiding fines for non compliance that could help. By improving health and safety in the workplace, employers are also reducing the chances of being brought to account financially by employers making compensation claims.

What It Means For Workers

Everyone has the right to work in conditions that are safe and do not constitute a threat to their health or personal safety. Although the HSE is often accused of being draconian in its attempts to bring prosecutions against companies that flout HSE legislation, it is the workers who suffer as a consequence of non compliance. Putting the emphasis firmly back onto the employers does not mean that workers absolve their own responsibilities, but it does give them some redress if employer negligence puts them at risk of injury or illness.

The biggest change is the introduction of the new versions of the HSE’s health and safety law poster and leaflet. This will give workers clearer information about their right to work in places where their health and safety is properly protected. Employers have a legal obligation to display the posters in a prominent position. The new posters and leaflets focus the attention on employees’ rights and set out in simple terms what employers and workers must do, including when there is a problem.

These changes will be implemented over the next five years, and should help clarify the regulations in most cases. It should also mean that, if there is an accident or injury, proving responsibility will be easier and therefore make it easier for workers to make successful claims for injuries or illness caused by employer negligence. Simplification of the law can only be a good thing, and could contribute significantly to improving the conditions of workers across the UK, making the working environment a safer place for everyone. Ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law, and if the new regulations make it clearer for everyone, then those that breach health and safety legislation and cause injuries to their workers as a result will have no place left to hide.

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It is crucial that your employer respects health and safety regulations. If they fail to do so and you become injured as a result, you should talk to the Work Accident Solicitors about making a compensation claim.

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