A Guide to Safe Practice in Art & Design

2.2   Statute Law

A comprehensive guide to all United Kingdom legislation post 1988, including health and safety at work, can be found on Her Majesty's Stationery Office website: www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/legislation/uk.htm

  2.2.1 Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)
  2.2.2 The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)
  2.2.3 Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations (2002)
  2.2.4 The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (1992)
  2.2.5 The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (1992)
  2.2.6 The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998)
  2.2.7 The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (1992) as ameneded (2002)
  2.2.8 The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989)
  2.2.9 The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992)
2.2.10 The Highly Flammable Liquids and Liquefied Petroleum Gases Regulations (1972)
2.2.11 The Health and Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations (1996)
2.2.12 Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) (1995)

2.2.1 Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974)

The basis of British health and safety law is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974). Under the HWSA employers have the duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees, and the health and safety of non-employees affected by their duties such as pupils and visitors, but always qualified by the guiding principle of '…so far as is reasonably practicable'. For community schools, community special schools, voluntary controlled schools, maintained nursery schools and pupil referral units the employer is the Local Education Authority (LEA). For foundation schools, foundation special schools and voluntary aided schools, the employer is usually the governing body. For independent schools, the employer is usually the governing body or proprietor.

As a result of the European Commission's programme of action on health and safety, a number of new regulations came into force after 1 January 1993. There were several new requirements, but the regulations primarily sought to clarify and make more explicit current health and safety law. Although some of the following regulations relate only to employers and employees, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would expect employers to regard these requirements as a reasonable standard to be applied to pupils.

www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hsc13.pdf

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2.2.2 The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)

These regulations require employers to introduce arrangements for planning, organising, controlling, monitoring and reviewing their management of health and safety. Such arrangements should include the production of written assessments of risks to which employees, pupils and others might be exposed. Employees should be provided with information on these measures and should receive suitable health and safety training. To achieve effective health and safety management, employers and staff should work together to produce a sound health and safety policy for the school.

The Health and Safety Executive publish Health and safety regulation ... a short guide which can be accessed at: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hsc13.pdf

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2.2.3 Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations (2002)

These regulations are among the most important since the HSWA (1974). They place a duty on employers to make an assessment of risks for work with toxic and corrosive substances hazardous to health, and to take necessary steps to prevent or control adequately the exposure of employees to these substances. In addition to the materials used in art and design, and dust created by practical work, attention should be paid to the potentially harmful effects from work with cleaning agents. Care should always be taken when using such products. Although the principal legal responsibility rests with the employer, employees also have specific duties to make full and proper use of control measures and personal protective equipment, and to report all defects.

The Health and Safety Executive publish Health and safety regulation ... a short guide which can be accessed at: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hsc13.pdf Also available is: COSHH: a brief guide to the regulations which can be accessed at: www.hse.gov.uk/coshh

The 1994 regulations can be accessed here.
Subsequent amendments can be found on Her Majesty's Stationery Office website: www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/legislation/uk.htm

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2.2.4 The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (1992)

These regulations concern the working environment, safety, facilities and cleaning of the workplace and are applicable only to employees. However, they affect pupils insofar as they share much of the school environment with teachers or other employees.

Consideration should be given to the design of work areas with reference to room dimensions and space; layout of areas to allow 'traffic routes'; safe storage; provision for the disabled; sufficient natural lighting in machine areas; and interior walls and ceilings which can easily be cleaned.

A Health and Safety Executive guide for local authorities can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk/lau/lacs/91-6.htm

The primary legislation can be found here.
Subsequent amendments can also be found on Her Majesty's Stationery Office website: www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/legislation/uk.htm

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2.2.5 The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (1992)

These regulations set out sound principles for selecting, providing, maintaining and using personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to be worn or held to minimise risks to health or safety. Employers must ensure that suitable clothing is provided for employees at risk, and that it is adequately maintained and stored appropriately. Employees are required to use equipment in accordance with their training and instructions, and must report any defect in their PPE. Schools should take these requirements into consideration when preparing risk assessments for pupils involved in work where the need for PPE arises.

Only PPE with the approved 'CE' (Communauté Européenne) mark should be purchased. PPE should always be stored correctly. Employers need to provide PPE for each employee (pupils and teachers) who may be exposed to risks. Information and training in the use of PPE should be provided.

A Health and Safety Executive guide for local authorities can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk/lau/lacs/68-2.htm

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2.2.6 The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1996)

This legislation places general duties on employers to deal with selected hazards, and also lists minimum requirements for work equipment. The regulations apply to all equipment, ranging from hand-tools to complex machinery, and its use.

The duties require the provision of suitable equipment, taking account of the purposes for which it will be used; the conditions and hazards of the workplace; maintenance requirements to ensure that it is kept in good working order; and the provision of adequate training. Specific requirements include guards for dangerous parts of machinery, control systems and devices, isolation from the source of energy, lighting, stability and hazard warnings.

www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si1992/Uksi_19922932_en_1.htm

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2.2.7 The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (1992) as amended (2002)

These regulations apply only to display screens used by a worker for a significant part of the day. Although the risk for such users is generally thought not to be high, it can arguably lead to muscular and other physical problems, eye strain and mental stress.

The implications for art and design are likely to be minimal, since prolonged use of computers and visual display units (VDUs) is not common in this context. However, attention is increasingly drawn to potential hazards. For example, concerns have been expressed about the distance between user and screen, the possible effects of very low-frequency radiation from the screen and adjacent work stations, eye disorders, and physical discomfort such as back strain and other posture-related stresses.

Employers also have duties to ensure that workstations satisfy requirements concerning the equipment itself, furniture and working environment. Breaks must be planned and information and training provided for users. Although the regulations relate to employers and employees, the Health and Safety Executive's guidance is particularly useful when considering risk assessments for pupils using VDUs. Details can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk/press/2003/e03030.htm

The primary legislation can be found here

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2.2.8 The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989)

These regulations place a duty on employers to ensure that electrical installations and equipment are in safe working order. Employees are required to co-operate with their employers in meeting the requirements of the regulations.

www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si1989/Uksi_19890635_en_1.htm

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2.2.9 The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992)

These regulations concern the lifting or moving of heavy loads, and affect both employers and employees. Employers are required to take appropriate steps to reduce the risk involved in manual handling and to provide employees with information about the weight of each load. Employees should comply with these instructions.

www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si1992/Uksi_19922793_en_1.htm

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2.2.10 The Highly Flammable Liquids and Liquefied Petroleum Gases Regulations (1972)

As these regulations are made under the Factories Act (1961) they do not apply to schools. However, the regulations relating to the storage of highly flammable liquids (HFLs) with a flashpoint under 32°C are regarded as setting standards which must be met by schools in order to conform with the HSWA.

Employers must ensure that HFLs are stored appropriately and that storerooms, bins or cupboards are suitably marked.

Useful information can be found on the BBC safety website at:
www.bbc-safety.co.uk/guidance/Fire/fire_safety_03.html

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2.2.11 The Health and Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations (1996)

Employers are required to display a safety sign wherever there is a risk to health. Existing safety signs complying with the 1980 regulations are acceptable. As far as schools are concerned, new signs relating to fire-fighting equipment are being introduced, and there is also a requirement to display signs on stores if significant quantities of dangerous substances are kept.

Further information about this regulation is available from the Health and Safety Executive.

www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg184.htm

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2.2.12 Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) (1995)

Major injuries occurring on school premises should be reported to the Health and Safety Executive in accordance with these regulations. In addition to being of statistical value, the information is used to determine whether a visit from a member of the Health and Safety Executive is necessary. The HSE is updating its education information sheet Reporting School Accidents. This should be available from HSE books early in 2005.

www.riddor.gov.uk

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