HSE revises work safety guidelines

19 November 2013

Posted by Samuel Couratin

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has made revisions to help employers protect their workers from harm.

It has both reviewed and updated the Workplace Regulations Approved Code of Practice (ACOP), L24, after a period of consultation. The body believes this will make it easier for employers, landlords and building owners to understand the legal duties required of them, in turn reducing any problems caused by a lack of compliance.

ACOP is the latest area to have been under review by HSE after recommendations by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt were published in a report, entitled Reclaiming Health and Safety for All, in November 2011.

HSE spokesman Chris Rowe said: "Across HSE we are working hard to ensure employers have access to good quality advice which makes clear what they need to do to protect workers.

"The revised ACOP has not only been updated, it will help employers understand the regulatory requirements on key issues such as temperature, cleanliness, workstations and seating, toilets and washing facilities."

Earlier this month, the organization made changes to the ACOP covering the use and installation of gas systems and related appliances, L56. These refinements came after two consultations and made adjustments to the safe installation, use and maintenance of gas systems - this involves both domestic and commercial properties.

One of the major updates clarified the need for anyone performing gas work to be trained to an adequate level, the requirements for flues and appliances and a better definition on gas work and gas fitting.

ACOPs themselves are not legal obligations, but have a certain status as they offer guidance on how to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act and other regulations. Anyone following an ACOP successfully, as a result, is more than likely complying with the actual law. In other words, HSE has not made any legal changes, but has offered more distinct clarification and understanding.

Both the changes to L56 and the recent alterations to L24 were made in agreement between the minister of state for health and safety and the HSE board.

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