No matter the type of business you have, complying with health and safety regulations is a above all top priority in order to remain on the right side of the law. Failure to comply with health and safety regulations can not only result in serious penalties such as large fines but even business closure and/or a prison sentence. However, with the vast array of rules and regulations, it can at times become tricky to keep on top of all the red tape. This is where facilities management can become an asset to your business, assisting your compliance, and within this, protect employees, create a pleasant workplace and sustain reputation.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of health and safety in the workplace, the main health and safety regulations, as well as how facilities management can assist with these.

Health and Safety Law in the UK

The basis of UK health and safety law comes from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and it outlines the general principles of health and safety compliance. It defines the obligations employers have towards their employees and the public, as well as the duties employees have towards themselves and each other. It also applies to the self-employed. Companies can face fines or even prosecution if found not adhering to the regulations. Not only this but failing to follow these regulations puts everyone involved at greater risk.

Whilst the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 covers the basic principles of health and safety, it’s also supplemented by more detailed guidelines which are more specific and cover a range of topics, for example:

Why is Health and Safety Important in the Workplace?

All employers, regardless of what type of business they’re in, must comply with health and safety rules. Health and safety in the workplace is important as it’s an employer’s moral duty to ensure staff return home safe and healthy at the end of every working day. By protecting your workforce, not only will you reduce absences, but you’ll also create a working environment that’s more efficient and productive. In fact, research shows that employees are more productive in industries that are committed to health and safety. Furthermore, by reducing down-time caused by illnesses and accidents, this will also equate to less disruption – saving your business money.

Apart from the fact that health and safety compliance is the law, non-compliance can also be extremely costly. If your business is short of effective risk management strategies, you could increase the chances of claims being made against your company. Whether it’s a minor slip, or an accident with tools – it’s vital businesses take the necessary measures to improve their risk management.

Aside from the above, other factors that make healthy and safety important in the workplace include:

The Fundamental Workplace Health and Safety Regulations for Your Business

As mentioned above, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation for occupational health and safety in the UK. However, there are also additional regulations which are intended to maintain compliant and safe workplaces.

Below, we have outlined the key health and safety regulations that most workplaces will be required to comply with. As well as this, we have also included a more in-depth breakdown of these regulations that may be applicable to specific business areas/industries.

  1. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Under this regulation, the main duties of an employer include:

For example, to break this down further, electrical safety may be relevant to your industry. Virtually all working environments will have electrical systems, or perhaps your industry works specifically with electricals, power transmission or other electricity related platforms. In these cases, risk assessments will be required to control any risks presented by electrical systems. Therefore, you must comply with regulations related to electricity in the workplace:

The current regulations refer to all electrical systems in the workplace, and outlines that all electrical systems must be maintained safely in order to prevent any danger. Facilities are required to carry out regular Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) to ensure their electrical systems are in line with the IEE Wiring Regulations (BS7671).

Fixed Wire Testing is also a legal obligation for all premises to ensure all electrical installations/circuits correspond to the most recent wiring regulations. Most businesses will require one of these tests every 5 years, whilst industrial buildings should be tested every 3 years. However, it’s recommended that all industrial, commercial and domestic buildings, are inspected annually.

How can MSL help?

At MSL, our M&E (mechanical and electrical) program will ensure your business remains compliant with the electrical regulations involved in health and safety legislation. Not only that, but our expert team will also design and install electrical systems that fit your company requirements. We will also carry out the appropriate EICR, and perform electrical tests throughout your business including:

  1. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

Under this regulation, the key provisions require employers to provide:

On the topic of adequate lighting, for instance, health and safety is crucial in industrial environments. Having the correct lighting will give peace of mind by improving the safety of your facility and preventing accidents from happening. MSL can assist with this with a range of LED lighting, which is typically the most cost-effective industrial lighting solution, and accommodates this industry’s long working hours and bright lighting. Our lighting solutions don’t just end there either – we cater to many different areas from schools to commercial businesses.

Furthermore, as stated in the regulation, all workplaces require air conditioning to create a comfortable workspace. Therefore, businesses must comply with regulations regarding this:

The Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2007 requires air conditioning systems to be regularly inspected. These must be carried out by an approved inspector who surveys the whole system, including the design, installation and operation. How frequently these occur depends on the weight and number of units:

As well as this, the F Gas Regulations 2015 also requires that any systems with more than 3kg of refrigerant gas must be inspected every 12 months (larger systems will need more frequent inspection).

How can MSL help?

Our team of experts will carry out all essential inspections, including TM44 assessments and F Gas certification. As well as this, to keep staff productive, regular maintenance of HVAC systems can assist, by maintaining a comfortable temperature and decreasing humidity. MSL can provide you with a planned maintenance program to keep on top of eliminating indoor air pollutants and provide fresh air in the workplace. Our team of specialists will organise scheduled checks, making breakdowns less likely, and keep you compliant with health and safety legislation.

Whilst the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 requires employers to provide adequate lighting, ventilation, heating and workspaces, it also requires these be kept clean too. Our hygiene services will ensure workplaces maintain a safe and healthy environment. Whether you require sparkle cleans, industrial cleans or commercial cleans – MSL is a one stop shop for all your hygiene needs to keep your facility health and safety compliant.

  1. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

Under this regulation, employers are required to:

Many workplaces will have different pieces of equipment, for example restaurants, manufacturing businesses and hospitals. Therefore, it’s an employer’s duty to ensure such machinery continues to operate safely and to a good standard.

How can MSL help?

Ensuring that your equipment is checked regularly through our planned maintenance program means that they’re likely to last longer. This is because any problems, which could pose a risk to safety, will be identified early on and dealt with instantly. Plus, our routine checks will also keep an eye on your business’s structure, for example pipes, boilers and roofing – expanding the life of the building too.

  1. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Under this regulation, employers are required to:

Fire safety is an extremely important aspect of any facility’s health and safety compliance. The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 requires that fire safety be overseen and managed by the business employer, manager or owner. This individual is required to put in place several fire safety reviews and preventions. Likewise, they must ensure that all fire safety equipment complies with the relevant British Standard.

How can MSL help?

Our BAFE accredited Safepartner can design, install and maintain all the fire safety equipment your facility requires, including fire alarm systems, sprinklers systems and fire extinguishers. We can also undertake fire risk assessments, fire door servicing and maintenance, as well as conducting safety training for your staff. Our highly skilled compliance team will ensure that all fire safety equipment complies with relevant British Standards.

These health and safety regulations may seem overwhelming and intricate. However, our compliance maintenance service will ensure a detailed health and safety compliance checklist is created, so that your entire business operates safely and lawfully. When it comes to compliance, you can have peace of mind that you’re in safe hands with MSL.

If you are interested in finding out more about how our services can keep your business health and safety compliant, get in touch with us on 0333 1234 450.