Health and safety laws can save your life, protect your wellbeing at work and haven’t just been instituted at the whim of a bored bureaucrat. Here are six laws that you might not be aware of:
- Lead based paint
If you’ve ever admired the beautiful Nash designed buildings surrounding Regent’s Park, you probably aren’t aware that their immaculate cream coloured frontages are protected by lead based paint. In the UK, only specialist firms, including rawlinspaints.com are allowed to sell these types of products. The reason is simple – lead is a poison, and domestic DIY practitioners aren’t allowed to buy this material. If you want advice on how to remove lead paint from your home, then have a look at the government website.
- Gardening can be dangerous
Health and safety laws protect the self-employed as well as those working as employees. Power tools are dangerous and independent landscape gardeners should be aware that it’s against the law to remove any safety covers on lawn mowers or guards on drills and electric saws drills. Make sure that the tools you use are covered by the European CE verification code. Always store your gear safely, if you run a commercial business you could be fined if you don’t follow these laws.
- Employers have to carry out regular risk assessments
The 1999 Health and Safety at Work regulations demand that employers carry out regular risk assessments. These will ensure that all who work within a building are protected from fire, accident and health hazards. Although many employers complain that these practices are unnecessary, without them a company might have to cope with hefty insurance claims, or illness among staff.
- Many complaints about health and safety law aren’t backed up by legislation
Bizarre stories in the press relating to so-called health and safety legislation reveal a catalogue of myths. These include stories about dangerous daffodils and the banning of custard pie fights. A report on the UK government website makes amusing reading. The website also highlights the fact that many use, ‘health and safety… as a smokescreen, to hide poor customer relations.’
- Pregnant relief
While this doesn’t strictly come under the umbrella of health and safety, pregnant women do often suffer from an unbearable urge to urinate. It is legal for a woman in this condition to urinate in public should the need arise. Policemen’s helmets have been mentioned as useful alternative lavatories.
- Change is afoot
The whole of the UK’s healthy and safety legislation is currently under review.
The days of banning children’s sack races as a result of safety concerns, or kite flying in east Yorkshire will no longer be able to be offered as an excuse to stop people enjoying themselves. Reporting accidents in the workplace will be simplified according to the Health and Safety Executive. Perhaps after years of being the butt of so many jokes, health and safety laws will be simpler and easier to understand.