It’s hard to believe how much Health & Safety has changed over the past couple of hundred years. Health & Safety legislation can be traced all the way back to 1802 when the first factory statute was passed due to shocking working conditions. Since then laws and legislation has been changed dramatically.
(A brief timeline showing major changes to health and safety legislation from 1802-2005.)
Did You Know: Helmets were not allowed underground until 1930!
To a coalmine operator a mule was more vulnerable than man,
because if the mule died they would have to replace
it where if a man died they would just hire another man.
In 1937 the scope of factory law was extended to that of the construction and engineering trade. This was put on hold because of the war which meant that building health, safety and welfare regulations were not made until 1948.
Existing regulations were criticized due to poor performances of health and safety in the 1950’s and by 1961 regulations were replaced by The Construction Regulations. Unbelievably these regulations remained the standard for thirty years!
The impact on improving the industries safety performance proved to be very disappointing and by 1974 fatalities dropped however accidents increased to 34,598 for the year. Due to a high level of occupational accidents and disease Lord Roben published a report that went on to form the legal framework of the health and safety act 1974.
In 1975 the health and safety commission set up a construction industry advisory committee known as CONIAC. Although this was a large step in the right direction it would take a long time and persistence to implement the laws and regulations put in place because of a relaxed and dismissive attitude on the subject.
In the 1990’s not much was being pushed in terms of legislation but changes were being made when necessary. Progress was made towards working at height regulations and this evolved in the mid 2000’s.
In 2005 the work at height regulations were put into place which which now applies to ‘all work that is being carried out at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury’. The responsibility for this is put on employers and anybody who contract others to work at height.
Safety at height should not be taken lightly or dismissed as it may have been in 1975. The HSE take safety at height very seriously and will take action against companies and employers not complying with work at height regulations, 2005.
Fines and even jail sentences have been given out in the past due to health and safety failures, for example, in December 2014 two companies were fined more than £120,000 and were also sent to prison, after a roof worker plunged 20ft to his death. The full story can be found Here.
If you have any queries about Working at Height regulations, please do not hesitate to contact our expert team or call 01204 590 232.