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  3. Policies and Procedures You Need to Know: “The Six Pack” Health and Safety at Work Regulations

The wide ranging regulations often referred to as the “six pack” of health and safety were introduced in January 2003, relevant to the majority of workplaces despite their industry and cover everyday issues that most would experience at work- a group of policies and procedures with everyone’s best interests at heart.

The six pack came about due to a European law called the ‘framework directive’ which was intended to harmonise health and safety legislation throughout Europe. Employers must take note; a breach of the regulations is a crime in the UK. Unison has reported that the Health and Safety Executive issue around 4,000 enforcement notices every year under the six regulations, and achieve over 200 convictions, a figure that is increasing year on year.

Here’s a summary of the six regulations which should be high agenda.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
• The employer must assess all significant risks to their staff taking account of the employee’s age, experience and circumstances. For example, expectant mothers and young people must be protected from potential risks.
• If staff numbers are greater than five, then a record of the assessment must be kept on record. Procedures must be put in place to deal with situations of imminent danger and all employees must have comprehensive and relevant training.

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
• Work equipment must be suitable for its intended job considering the nature of the working condition and risks which might be faced in the workplace.
• Equipment must be properly maintained and users must be trained on how best to use it- only those who have carried out specific training should use equipment that could be dangerous.
• Adequate lighting must be provided, along with identifiable controls.
• Dangerous parts of the machinery should be controlled to protect against the ejection of substances, gases, overheating, fire or explosion.

Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
• The employer must seek to avoid any manual handling tasks that have any risk of injury involved. If this can’t be done then steps should be taken to assess such risks and seek to reduce the risk of injury.
• Employers must provide workers with indications of the risks and where possible, the weight of each load. Employees must make use of the systems of work provided to them.

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
• General requirements on accommodation standards for nearly all workplaces to include the maintenance, ventilation, reasonable temperature controls, lighting, cleanliness, workstations, protection from falling objects and the general day to day essentials which staff will be using.
• Unlike previous legislation, these regulations apply to most types of workplace except transport, construction sites and domestic premises. Workplaces must be suitable for all who work in them, including workers with any kind of disability.

Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
• Employers must provide PPE to workers where health and safety risks are not adequately protected by other means.
• PPE must be correct for its intended purpose and be well-fitting so that workers are sufficiently protected, and staff must be trained on how to safely use it.
• Employees should never be asked to pay for their own PPE, but must safely store and report any faults about their equipment immediately.

Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
• Covering display screen equipment (DSE) such as visual display units (VDUs), microfiche and process control screens.
• The regulations apply wherever DSE is used meaning that it is relevant for those working in offices, classrooms, computer suits, hospitals and even where workers are contracted to work from home.
• Employees are allowed to interrupt screen use with periods of rest or alternative work and are entitled to employee paid eye tests.

Make sure you and your employees are educated on the six pack- safety guidance shouldn’t be ignored.


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