How Health And Safety Has Changed In The Workplace Throughout the UK  

Employers are legally required to put appropriate procedures in place related to health and safety in the workplace

HEALTH and safety in the UK hasn’t always been in the best shape and was marked by policy grey areas that unsurprisingly led to injury and illness. From child labour and frequent deaths to asbestos exposure, the British workplace has been transformed by recent health and safety legislation to make it into one of the safest places to work in Europe.  

According to HSE, 565,000 working people had sustained a work-related injury and 135 were killed in accidents at work during the 2022/23. This is still too many so employers are working to close this gap even further.  

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Milestone changes in the 1900s  

With factory and mining accidents being rife across the country, legislation changes such as the Factories Act (1931) and Mine and Quarries Act (1954) were long overdue. These laid out comprehensive codes for safety, health and welfare to all factories, alongside rules on equipment, access, hazards and working conditions for mining managers.  

Laws surrounding agriculture roles followed soon after to protect any workers or children who were at risk of injury from agricultural vehicles, equipment and machinery. The last group of unprotected workforces were retail and office workers, who only saw statutory protection enforced in 1960. 

The Framework of Modern Health & Safety Regulation  

The most radical piece of health and safety legislation in the UK came later in 1974. The Health and Safety at Work Act was the first introduction of a standard legal framework to protect employees by placing the responsibility for safety and welfare on employers. This now forms the basic foundation for managing all health and safety concerns in the UK.  

This act defines the duties of everyone from employers and employees to business owners and managers to maintain health and safety standards within a workplace. The Health and Safety Executive was formed the year after to enforce these regulations across the country. This regulatory body continues to provide advice and conduct research and inspections regarding health and safety.  

The Importance of Training and Environment  

Even with these regulations in place, businesses need to ensure that they are providing the right training to employees. From the right lifting techniques to the appropriate storing and use of machinery, employers have a responsibility to guarantee that workers know how to safely complete any task without danger of injury to themselves and others.  

Don’t forget about the importance of environment in health and safety. Your employees need somewhere to relax and switch off. Having a break room or site accommodation hire allows you to have the right facilities to accommodate workers.  

Better Communication  

The improvement on the training side of things has helped business and employees understand where changes are needed. Potential hazards can be identified in good time, before an accident has even had the chance to occur. This goes hand in hand with the continual development of health and safety as a whole, no matter the working environment.  

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