Workplace (Health Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 as amended and the 22 points you need to know!
WHAT ARE THE WORKPLACE HEALTH SAFETY AND WELFARE REGULATIONS?
The Workplace Health Safety and Welfare (WHSAW) Regulations were introduced in 1992 to set a minimum standard for health and safety in the workplace. They were amended in 2002 and again in 2013 and there are approximately 22 points that an employer should be familiar with.
Their purpose was to make the workplace a more healthy, safe and comfortable place for people to work in, including safe access and egress to the premises, grounds and outlying buildings.
For clarity, a workplace can be defined as any non-domestic premises which people at work have access to.
This can include any room, corridor, storage area, communal lobby, staircase etc; including any access or exit to or from the area. (There are other regulations that cover mines, quarries, construction sites and ships in ports.)
Employers have a duty to ensure that workplaces under their control comply with the regulations.
The relevant HSE document can be accessed HERE.
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT REGULATIONS (HEALTH)
In enclosed areas ventilation must be effective, and any plant used within these areas must have a suitable warning device to indicate a breakdown
or defect which might endanger health.
During working hours, a reasonable temperature must be maintained without the need for special clothing.
(A minimum of 16-degrees C is recommended, with a minimum recommendation of 13-degrees C where strenuous work is taking place.)
Guidance is available for areas of extreme temperatures such as cold stores and food processing plants.
So far as is reasonable practical, lighting should be natural, but where this is insufficient or not possible then adequate lighting should be supplied with a good uniform spread and minimal dark areas.
Where people are exposed to danger if the artificial light fails, emergency lighting should be supplied. This can be in any room that is reliant on artificial light and especially escape corridors and stairs.
Light themselves should not cause a hazard from glare and dazzle, should not be obscured by shelving or alterations etc, and should be subject to a program of regular maintenance.
FURNITURE and FITTINGS.
Furniture and fittings should be suitable for easy cleaning and kept clean. Surfaces inside the building should be of a construction that is easy to wipe down. Furniture should be of a type that can be kept clean with regular vacuuming or use of proprietary sprays and cloths.
FLOORS and WALLS.
Floors should be of a non-slip type or have a non-slip covering free from rips, damage or trip hazards. They should be cleaned regularly so as not to build up debris or a greasy surface.
Walls should not increase the risk of fire. Consideration should be given to any wall covering that may be flammable and consideration should be given to not placing flammable items on the wall in escape corridors.
Waste should be placed or stored in a suitable receptacle and not left to overflow. Provision should be available to regularly empty waste bins, with a different receptacle for offensive waste.
Room dimensions shall be adequate to offer personal work space and free movement around equipment, other workers and furniture.
As a minimum it is recommended that 11m3 is allowed per person excluding anything with a ceiling height above 3m and furniture etc.
Workstations need to be suitable for any person in the workplace who is likely to work at the station.
Outside workstations should be so far as is reasonably practicable protected from adverse weather, offer adequate means of escape in an emergency, and
ensure that no persons are likely to suffer slips, trips and falls.
Seating shall be provided where work can and must be done, and shall be suitable for the person. Where required, a footrest must also be provided.
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT REGULATIONS (SAFETY)
The workplace, including equipment shall be subject to regular maintenance and cleaning to ensure that it is in efficient working order, an efficient state and good repair.
Where required, it should be subject to a program of regular maintenance rather than breakdown or reactive maintenance.
Systems would include emergency lighting, ventilation, gas and fossil fuel fired systems, window cleaning devices, moving walkways or moving walkways etc.
FLOORS and TRAFFIC ROUTES
Floors and surfaces for traffic should be suitably designed for their intended purpose. They should not be slippery or uneven and be free of holes and slopes (unless fenced).
Loading bays should have a means of escape or a refuge to prevent crushing from an entering vehicle.
Traffic routes should be of sufficient height and width to allow people and vehicles to move freely around each other, and be free of obstructions.
Separation between people and vehicles should be provided at doorways, gates, crossings and common routes.
Where pedestrians have to cross traffic routes, additional precautions should be put into place.
Open sides of staircases should be protected by a minimum of a rail at least 900mm high, with a lower rail to prevent slipping under.
TANKS and PITS.
Where there is a risk of falling into a tank or pit, measures must be taken to provide a secure barrier or cover over the structure.
GLAZING and WINDOWS
Windows, partitions and glazed doors must be marked and protected against breakage or injury from broken glass.
Windows must open and close safely (including skylights), be free from the risk of falling from the window, and be able to be cleaned safely.
Doors and gates should be of sound construction and kept in good working order. Where automated, they should be fitted with appropriate safety devices and be subject to regular testing and maintenance.
FALLS and FALLING OBJECTS.
See the Work at Height Regulations 2005
LADDERS and ROOFS
See the Work at Height Regulations 2005
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT REGULATIONS (WELFARE).
SANITARY AND WASHING FACILITIES.
Men and Women should have separate facilities unless the facility is in a separate fully enclosed cubicle with a lockable door designed for one person only.
The facilities must be adequate for the number of employees, in suitable and accessible places, be kept clean, adequately ventilated and lit.
Washing facilities must have clean hot and cold running water, soap and towels (or another method of hand drying)
There should be a supply of potable (fresh) drinking water from a clean tap with suitable cups, a drinking fountain, or water jet.
Water can be supplied in refillable containers but only where a natural water source cannot be supplied.
STORAGE OF CLOTHING AND FACILITIES FOR CHANGING.
Where required, adequate storage for clothing or special items of work wear. A facility to change into special work wear and a facility to dry clothes where work is of an outdoor nature for example.
REST and MEALTIME FACILITIES
Readily available, clean, warm rest and eating facilities should be provided. This should include suitable eating arrangements, suitable seating with back support and tables.
A provision to heat food and drinks unless hot food is provided.
Canteens and restaurants can be used as rest facilities as long as there is no obligation to purchase food.
A suitable rest facility should be provided for pregnant women and nursing mothers. They should have access to nearby sanitary facilities and where necessary include the facility to lie down.
Covered by the smoke free legislation.
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