Identify legislation relating to general health and safety in a care work setting

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‘Legislation’ refers to the official laws that govern the country. This includes primary legislation (statutes or Acts of Parliament) and secondary legislation (Regulations, Orders, Codes etc.) Secondary legislation is usually delegated to a third party by primary legislation to provide additional details or amendments.

The main piece of legislation relating to health and safety is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (often abbreviated to HASAWA). This is primary legislation and is supported by several other legislative regulations as shown below:

  • Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 – the basis for workplace health and safety, identifies the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as the regulator, sets out responsibilities of employer and employees
    • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 – employers must carry out risk assessments to reduce or eliminate risks, procedures for emergency situations must be in place, employers must provide information and training
    • The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 – employers must assess and minimise the health risks associated with moving and handling, employers must provide adequate information and training
    • The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 – employers must risk-assess workstations of staff who use display screens daily for an hour or more
    • The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) – employers must provide procedures for reporting work-related accidents and relevant information and training, employers must report and keep 3 years of records of any diseases, dangerous occurrences or accidents that result in death or serious injury
    • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) – employers must assess and prevent exposure to hazardous substances, employers must have risk assessments and procedures in place as well as provide adequate training and information
    • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 2002 (PUWER)work equipment must be well-maintained have visible warning signs, employers must provide training and information
    • The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 – employers must provide first aid equipment and qualified first-aiders
    • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – employer must take reasonable fire safety precautions by completing a fire risk assessment for the premises, supply and maintain fire safety equipment, plan escape routes and fire exits and provide information and training to employees
    • The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) – regulation specifically for the use of equipment used for lifting or lowering loads such as hoists or mobility aids, employers must ensure adequate information and training is provided, equipment is well-maintained and it is only used for its intended operation
    • Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 – Employers must provide (for free) any required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required by employees such as gloves and aprons, PPE must be maintained and employees have sufficient information and training regarding how to use and dispose of it
    • Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 – employers must ensure electrical appliances are maintained, tested and labelled as being safe, employees must be trained on how to test electrical appliances and report faults
  • Food Safety Act 1990 – anyone handling or preparing food must have good personal hygiene, employer should keep records of where food has come from, any unsafe food should be disposed of and an incident reported
    • Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 – controls for food safety should be in place, maintained and reviewed, food safety risk assessments to identify hazards, the environment where food is prepared or cooked should be clean and in good condition
  • Civil Contingencies Act 2004 – Establishes how organisations such as emergency services, local authorities and health bodies work in partnership to respond to emergencies and share information, includes emergency planning and risk assessment
  • Health & Social Care (Safety & Quality) Act 2015 – care providers must provide information about the individuals that they care for using a consistent identifier (NHS number) to provide safe and effective care, individuals convicted of certain offences are removed from the registers of health and social care regulatory bodies
  • The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regs 1983 (amended 2006) – would apply to domiciliary care workers that drive between clients, for example.

It is worth noting that although the HSE is the regulator for the health and safety of workers in England, from 2015 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) became the health and safety regulator for individuals that are receiving care by providers that are registered with them. The HSE continues to regulate health and safety for individuals receiving care in Scotland and Wales.

The HSE and CQC will work very closely with one another (and also local authorities) to regulate areas where there may be crossover or ambiguity in their areas of responsibility.

Example question and answer

You have been asked to contribute to an induction day for new staff. You are to prepare a presentation about Health and Safety. It must include the following:

Ai A list of the key legislation relating to health and safety in a social care setting.

Aii An explanation of how health and safety policies and procedures protect people using social care settings.

Aiii An explanation of how health and safety policies and procedures protect people who work in social care settings.

Aiv A comparison of the differences in the main health and safety responsibilities
of each of the following:
a) Social care worker
b) Employer/ manager
c) Individuals using social care services and others in the setting, such as
 visitors, supporters, volunteer or contractors.

Av An example of a situation where responsibility for health and safety lies with
the individual receiving care.

Avi An explanation of why each of the following tasks should only be carried out
with specific training and the potential consequences if undertaken by staff that are not trained.
a) Use of equipment
b) First aid
c) Medication
d) Assisting moving and handling
e) Emergency procedures
f) Food handling and preparation.

Avii An explanation of the procedures to be followed to prevent and in the event of each of the following:
a) Fire
b) Gas leak
c) Floods
d) Intruding
e) Security breach

Aviii An explanation about the importance of having an emergency plan in place to deal with unforeseen circumstances.

Aix An explanation of how you could encourage others to follow procedures in place for environmental safety.

Ax An explanation of how you could access additional support and information relating to health and safety.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PRESENTATION: 306 Task A Health & Safety Presentation