Health and Safety at Work Act - Understanding Health and Safety Regulations

Health and safety regulations are vital for industry based and professional settings. When employees and workers feel safe and healthy in their work environment it augments their performance and shows positively on the company’s background.

The United States and the United Kingdom have always been the top most contenders for proactive regulations for implementation of safety regulations. While there are many similarities in the policies adopted by companies there are also some stark differences that shine out.


The UK is regulated by HSWA

In the Great Britain, the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) that was introduced in 1974 acts as the primary policy for occupational health and safety. Health and safety executives, as well as authorities, are responsible for the enforcement of policies and strict action against its violation. These regulations have specific acts that must be followed in a working environment at all costs. Certain statutory instruments are also involved in secondary legislations under this act; these involve avoidance of working with cancerous substances such as asbestos, ionising radiation and working at a height.

These regulations are provided to businesses and companies to follow and certain amendments are always taking place as the times and circumstances change. For example, sexual harassment in the workplace has been highlighted in the amendment more recently as the involvement of women in the industries have increased.

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The US follows OSHA

In the United States of America, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards are followed. These rules and regulations are initiated to encourage workplace health and safety standards, as with the HSWA statutory instruments are also involved as secondary laws.

Under the OSHA act employers are expected to provide a protected workplace for a worker that promotes well-being. Just like the HSWA, employees are also provided training, awareness, and assistance in order to help businesses properly comply with the rules. Moreover, employers under the General Duty Clause are expected to keep the offices free of hazardous materials such as asbestos and other cancerous agents.


The differences of HSWA and OSHA

The most important difference between the two occupational safety and work regulations is that unlike the HSWA, OSHA does not override other equivalent safety regulations, whereas in the Great Britain, other regulations over the HSWA are given little preference. As per Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act employers are allowed to file a petition if they wish to deviate from a standard or apply alternative safety rules. While this certainly offers more flexibility to US employers, there are also certain drawbacks, especially for workers. Certain rules and regulations may be overridden under the law if the employer does not wish to comply, however, most basic safety and health regulations are a must to follow by most employers.

With similarities and differences, HSWA and OSHA both work to provide the same primary purpose, higher security and a healthier platform for workers to improve performance, productivity, and well-being. Both the laws work diligently to ensure no workplace violates basic human rights and gives the space and healthy podiums for the workers to display their best skills while maintaining their wellbeing.


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