The legal and regulatory requirements

The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations Act 1992 – requires all employers and their employees at work to maintain a safe and healthy working environment.

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 – This requires every employer to provide First Aid equipment and facilities according to circumstances in order for First Aid to be administrated. Staff should be aware who is the First Aider and the location of the First Aid kit, if you require any further information please contact either St Johns Ambulance or Red Cross.

The Electricity at Work Regulations Act 1992 – states all electrical equipment should be checked by a qualified electrician annually to make sure it is safe.

This act is concerned with safety while using electricity.  Any electrical equipment used must be checked regularly to ensure that it is safe.  These checks should be listed in a record book and would be important evidence in any legal action that may arise.  Broken or damaged equipment or equipment with exposed wires should not be used.  Cracked sockets should also not be used and sockets should never be overloaded. 

Reporting of injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 

(RIDDOR) 1995 – states the steps that should be followed if an accident occurs at work of if someone occurs an injury.

Minor accidents should be entered into a record book, stating what occurred and what action was taken.

It is important that all concerned should sign.  If as a result of an accident at work anyone is off work for more than 3 days, or someone is seriously injured, or has a type of occupational disease certified by the doctor, or even dies, a report should be sent to the local authority Environmental Health Department as soon as possible.

The Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 – states all employers and self-employed persons must hold liability insurance.

Employers must take out insurance policies in case of claims by employees for injury, disease or illness related to the workplace.

A certificate must be displayed at work to show that the employer has the insurance.

Environmental Protection Act – waste regulations  – states all waste chemicals must be disposed of safely and anybody using hazardous substances must ensure that disposal of them (by a licensed company) does not cause harm to the environment or landfill site.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 1994 – instructs of ways substances deemed as hazardous to health should be stored.  It is a requirement that all employees should be made aware of risks and given appropriate training.  Detailed instructions must be kept regarding any products considered hazardous.

Examples of some COSHH symbols to inform the user of the potential hazards

Consumer Protection Act 1987 – this act aims to safeguard any consumer against products, which do not reach a reasonable level of safety.

Any person injured by a product can take action against the producer, importer or an own brander.

The Local Government Act 1982 – Bylaws are laws made by your local council.  Workplace bylaws are primarily concerned with hygiene and different councils around the country have different ones.

The Act states a person may not carry out their practice unless registered by the local authority and premises have to be registered to carry out treatments.  This only applies to businesses which practice beauty treatments such as ear piercing, electrical epilation, acupuncture etc.

Performing Rights Act – it is a legal requirement to purchase a license if any music is played in waiting or treatment rooms as this is considered to be a public performance.

If you play music you will need to purchase a license from Phonographic Performance Ltd. These organisations collect the performance fees and give the money to performers and record companies.  If you do not buy a license, legal action may be taken against you.

The Data Protection Act 1984

Requires all information taken from the client must remain at all times private and not disclosed or discussed with anyone else apart from the client.

The Data Protection Act requires client information be used by the therapist only and not given to anyone else without the client’s permission. Client information and any notes you keep must be secure in an area where no-one else will have access to them, i.e. in a locked drawer or password protected area if kept on a computer. Clients have the right to ask to see personal data you hold on them.

The main guiding principles include:

  • The health, safety and welfare of all people should be maintained at all times and all organisations should operate within policy guidelines.
  • Hazardous chemicals or substances should be handled and stored securely and risk of emission should be controlled.
  • People should be protected against any risks that may occur as a result of activities in the workplace.
  • The work place should provide clean and hygienic facilities, including the availability of drinking water, changing areas and toilets, first aid rooms in larger organisations
  • Appropriate equipment should be provided for use and adequately maintained.
  • The appointment of qualified staff to provide supervision and instruction (as appropriate) and the provision of additional training, as required, e.g. first aid and health and safety.
  • Adequate insurance to cover accidents, e.g. employer and public liability
  • The provision of reporting and recording mechanisms, e.g. accident books
  • Regular review and evaluation of all healthy and safety policies and procedures to ensure they are current, valid and reliable.
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