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Last edited 24 Aug 2017
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
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It sets out Requirements for:
- Risk assessments. Thinking about what might cause harm and deciding what steps to take to prevent harm.
- Apply principles of prevention. Avoid risk where possible, evaluate unavoidable risks and put in place proportionate measures to control risks at source (see below).
- A written statement of general health and safety policy for employers of employing 5 or more people, and bring the policy to the attention of employees. Note employers of fewer than 5 people must still have a health and safety policy, but it does not need to be written down. See Health and Safety Policy for more information.
- Method statement. Widely used in construction industry as means of controlling specific health and safety risks that have been identified. This helps manage the work and ensures precautions communicated to those involved. See Method statement for more information.
- Review and inspection: By the employer internally and by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) externally, assessing things such as; prevention of falls, working at height, platforms, asbestos, avoidance of obstructions and so on.
- Competent people must be appointed by the employer to assist in meeting legal requirements of health and safety legislation. They do not have to be employees, so can for example be consultants.
Prevention principles (Schedule 1)
- Avoiding risks. Where possible risks should be avoided completely. It is impossible to avoid all risks in the workplace, but those that can be avoided should be. The safest risk is the one you don’t take.
- Evaluating the risks which cannot be avoided. Risks that cannot be avoided should be evaluated through a risk assessment to determine the safest method of work.
- Combating the risks at source. Combating the risk at source is better than managing the risk through warnings or the use of personal protective equipment (PPR). For example a slippery surface should be treated or replaced as opposed to putting up a warning sign.
- Adapting the work to the individual. The choice of work equipment and the choice of working and production methods, should be made with a view, in particular, to alleviating monotonous work and work should be carried out at a predetermined work-rate to reduce its effect on health.
- Adapting to technical progress. Technologic advancement involves adopting solutions to existing problems. When new equipment is developed it is important to take advantage of any opportunities to make working processes safer.
- Replacing the dangerous by the non-dangerous or the less dangerous. If is not possible remove a risk entirely, it may be possible to replace it with another less dangerous method. For example, it may be possible to substitute a toxic substance for one that is less hazardous, or work from height could be carried out from fixed scaffolding rather than a ladder.
- Developing a coherent overall prevention policy. This policy should cover technology, organisation of work, working conditions, social relationships and the influence of factors relating to the working environment.
- Giving collective protective measures priority. Collective protective measures should be given priority over individual protective measures. Collective measures give the greatest benefit to protecting the whole workplace. It is important to consider how preventative measures will work together and ensure they are compatible.
- Giving appropriate instructions to employees. Control measures introduced will be of little use if the workforce do not comply with them, understand them or know about them. Communication is vital to ensure the successful implementation of health and safety measures to protect everybody.
 Find out more
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- Health and safety consultant.
- Health and Safety Executive.
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