The Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974 places responsibilities on employers, employees, and the self-employed to have regard for their own health and safety and that of others working for them, with them, or visiting their premises. Along with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), we have a legal duty to enforce the Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974 and related legislation.
As a general rule factories, construction sites, medical activities and local authority premises are the responsibility of the HSE. We take responsibility for offices, shops, warehouses, restaurants, hotels, places of worship, leisure and consumer services. The same laws apply in both cases.
Our Health and Safety Officers aim to ensure that work premises are safe for employees and visitors and that accidents are prevented wherever possible. This is achieved by:
- Inspections of business premises such as offices, shops and warehouses to ensure conditions are satisfactory and safe, in accordance with government priorities
- Investigation of accidents at work which involve either staff or the general public
- Investigation of complaints relating to health and safety
- We provide information to businesses and members of the public to increase general awareness of health and safety
- We use educational techniques as well as legal means to achieve compliance
- We licence tattooists, skin pierces and acupuncturists
- We advise other council departments about health and safety at events with a Public Entertainment Licence
- We work with Planning and Building Control to advise on the health and safety implications of new developments
- We work with the HSE on joint initiatives and projects
- We give advice to customers and all stakeholders on health and safety issues
- We work with other health professionals locally and nationally
- We do not however deal with council buildings and employees, manufacturing, construction or food manufacturing which are dealt with by the HSE
Safer workplace, better business
In partnership with the HSE, Devon Health & Safety Sub Group have created a pack for businesses to download called Safer Workplace, Better Business. Supported by the HSE, Local Government Regulation and modelled on the Food Standards Agency's Safer Food Better Business pack, it could form the basis for small and medium sized businesses to comply with legal standards on Health and Safety.
Once completed the pack will enable businesses to identify key hazards in their workplace, introduce suitable control measures and have a documented system available for inspection by Health and Safety Officers. The pack is split into the following five sections, which business owners and/or managers should work through and complete:
- Good Practices
- Extra Care
The HSE has produced a useful webpage where information and guidance leaflets can be downloaded, see HSE.GOV.UK - Leaflets. Priced publications can be ordered via HSE.GOV.UK - Books.