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What is the Health and Safety Executive?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is an executive, independent, and public body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. The HSE is responsible for ensuring health and safety policies while reinforcing health and safety laws in the UK. Some workplaces are covered by local council health officers instead of HSE inspectors, but the laws are the same, and they are reinforced the same way.

The HSE:

  • Promotes safe working practices;

  • Advises employers and workers on how to maintain a healthy and safe environment;

  • Carries out relevant research;

  • Works with Health and Safety inspectors, investigators, and prosecutors to develop the best HS strategies for improvement.

Some things that need to be constantly regulated by HSE officers in the workplace are:

  • Ventilation;

  • Temperature;

  • Lighting;

  • Cleanliness and waste materials;

  • Floor space;

  • Seating;

  • Sanitation;

  • Sashing facilities;

  • Smoking;

  • Visual display units;

  • Noise;

  • Vibration;

  • Work in confined spaces;

  • Diving;

  • Radiation;

  • And hazardous substances.

These safety regulations come in the form of legal instructions, so they are mandatory, and there's no way to go around them. The health and safety regulations are made by government ministers, usually after proposals from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and the last step is being approved by the parliament. After that, the laws can be implemented in all workplaces. They cover all general requirements of work health and safety, such as exposure to dangerous chemicals, manual learning, protection techniques, and safety measures.

How to provide work safety?

As an employer, in order to ensure minimum work safety, follow these three easy steps recommended by the HSE organization:

1. Overview: the most crucial part is to figure out your weak spots in the workplace and eliminate them.

2. Decide what training and information you need: Focus your instructions, first, on employees that work in more dangerous places and make sure they have all the knowledge and adequate training. If needed, provide extra lectures, like health and safety training, or wire experts to teach about work hazards and how to prevent them, especially if they are new interns. Worker's safety reflects the company's safety. It's important that everyone has all the information on hazards, risks, measures, and emergency procedures. A way to make sure these criteria are fulfilled is by asking for the employee's feedback. With this, you can find out where the information needs to be reinforced for it to be 100% effective. For this to happen, it's important that the training is accessible to everyone.

3. Make sure that all staff has the appropriate training. This included: younger workers, workers with learning or physical disabilities, and HSE representatives.

If you have knowledge about a safety issue or need to contact the HSE for some other question, here is a list of ways to do it:

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