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Health and safety law
The Health and Safety at
Work etc. Act 1974 applies to everyone at work, whether
self-employed, an employer or an employee. Employers must take
reasonable steps to protect the health, safety and welfare of the
people working for them. They must also think about the health and
safety of anyone that might be affected by their activities or lack
of action, including customers, visitors and contractors. No
business is too large or too small to escape these duties.
The Act and the wide range of regulations made under it are
enforced by local authorities or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE),
according to the main activity of each individual work
Local authorities have responsibility for the enforcement of
health and safety legislation in 1.2million business premises
- in offices, shops, retail and wholesale distribution
outlets, hotels, restaurants, residential care homes and throughout
the leisure industry.
The HSE enforces the legislation in industry - factories,
farms and building sites.
Health and safety laws
Health and safety prevents people from being harmed by taking
the right precautions and providing a safe working environment.
Because health and safety at work is so important, there are rules
which require all of us not to put ourselves or others in danger.
The law is also there to protect the public from workplace dangers.
These laws apply to all firms, however small, to employees and to
The role of health and safety inspectors
Inspectors visit workplaces to check that people are sticking to
the rules and to help them understand what is required to conform
with the law. They enforce only when something is seriously
Health and safety enforcement
Health and safety enforcement is split between the council and
the HSE. The responsibilities of the Food and Safety Team at Medway
- consumer services, such as hotels and catering, warehouses,
tyre and exhaust fitters, undertakers, therapeutic and beauty
services and animal care
- privately-owned leisure and entertainment facilities and
- religious activities.
The team is not responsible for domestic premises or premises
owned by the council.
Health and safety at other types of premises are enforced by the
relating to construction activities are enforced by its
Employer's liability compulsory insurance
If you employ anyone, you must display your employer's liability
compulsory insurance certificate.
Health and safety law posters
If you employ anyone, you should display the health and safety
law poster. The poster can be ordered from HSE
website or by ring HSE Books on 01787
For further advice, visit the HSE website or phone the HSE
infoline on 0300 0031747.
Reporting an incident
Incidents in premises enforced by Medway Council can be reported
to Medway Council. Incidents in other premises should be
reported to the Health and Safety
Executive online or by calling HSE Incident Contact Centre
on 0845 3009923.