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Health and Safety regulations apply to the employer and employees. We will look at different laws in other videos but to summarise, laws apply to every part of work to ensure safety and welfare in the workplace.

There are different documents you can refer to like guidance, approved codes of practice and regulations.

Guidance can be specific to the health and safety problems of an industry or of a particular process used in a number of industries. The main purposes of guidance are to interpret and­ help people to understand what the law says ­ including how requirements based on EC Directives fit with those under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Guidance help people comply with the law and give give technical advice.

Following guidance is not compulsory and employers are free to take other action. But if they do follow guidance they will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

Approved Codes of Practice offer practical examples of good practice. They give advice on how to comply with the law by, for example, providing a guide to what is ‘reasonably practicable’.

Approved Codes of Practice have a special legal status. If employers are prosecuted for a breach of health and safety law, and it is proved that they have not followed the relevant provisions of the Approved Code of Practice, a court can find them at fault unless they can show that they have complied with the law in some other way.

Regulations are law, approved by Parliament. These are usually made under the Health and Safety at Work Act. This applies to regulations based on EC Directives as well as UK regulations.

The Health and Safety at Work Act leave employers freedom to decide how to control risks which they identify. Guidance and Approved Codes of Practice give advice. But some risks are so great, or the proper control measures so costly, that it would not be appropriate to leave employers discretion in deciding what to do about them. Regulations identify these risks and set out specific action that must be taken. Often these requirements are absolute ­ to do something without qualification by whether it is reasonably practicable.

It is not possible on this course to say what regulations apply to you in your workplace as laws apply to different sectors. Some of the special regulations include:

•   Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

•   Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

•   Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992

•   Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

•   Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

•   Noise at Work Regulations 1989

•   And many more like COSHH and RIDDOR.

You will need to ask you employer what rules you must follow in your workplace. Each workplace, although they follow the rules, may have a slightly different policies, as they apply the law to their workplace, which is why it is important to check your workplace policies