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FEATURE


40 YEARS AN ACT


2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act, arguably the most important piece of health and safety legislation in recent history. To celebrate, we take a look at some of the key events and


publications that have shaped the HSE’s infl uence in the workplace. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was described as "a bold and far- reaching piece of legislation" by the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) first Director General, John Locke. It certainly marked a departure from the framework of prescribed and detailed regulations which was in place at the time. The Act introduced a new system based on less prescriptive


and more goal-based regulations, supported by guidance and codes of practice. For the first time, employers and employees were to be consulted and engaged in the process of designing a modern health and safety system. The Act also established the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) for the purpose of proposing new regulations, providing


1983 Asbestos Licensing 1975 HSE Formed The Vietnam War comes to an


end, Volkswagen releases the Golf and… the HSE takes official form. That was the year that was 1975 as, under the leadership of its first director, John Locke, the HSE


undertakes the requirements of the Health and Safety Commission to


enforce health and safety legislation in all workplaces, except those regulated by Local Authorities.


1981 First Aid


Regulations came into force on 1st July 1982 which stipulated that an employer should provide


equipment and facilities to enable first aid in the workplace. Self- employed people were also


covered by the Regulations as there was a requirement for them to provide appropriate and adequate


equipment for rendering first aid to themselves at work, if necessary.


The Asbestos (Licensing)


Regulations 1983 came into force on 1st August and have been amended by several pieces of


legislation since. At the time the Regulations became law, no-one


could carry out work with asbestos unless they held a licence granted


by HSE or worked for someone who held such a licence.


information and advice, and conducting research. HSC's operating arm, the HSE was formed shortly after in order to enforce health and safety law, a duty shared with Local Authorities. Forty years on, there has been plenty of change, but the Act still stands. Here’s just a few of the things it’s seen in its lifetime:


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