SAFed Health and Safety Passport Scheme 

Module 1 —Awareness of health and safety key legislative requirements

1.1       Introduction

This document forms one of a series of modules on various health and safety subjects that comprise the examinable material considered necessary for the award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport.

When you have studied this module you should have acquired sufficient knowledge to be able to answer the questions detailed at the end of the module.  Upon satisfactory completion of all modules, you will be eligible to undertake the final assessment for the award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport.

The SAFed Health and Safety Passport is issued to Engineer Surveyors by the Health and Safety Manager of their employing company upon satisfactory completion of the Safety Passport final assessment.

The award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport provides evidence that the holder of the Passport has the appropriate knowledge and awareness in health and safety matters considered necessary for an Engineer Surveyor to undertake the duties for which they are authorised by their employing company.

The passport is valid for a maximum of three years.


1.2       Key Objectives

Having studied this module you should be aware of: -

·         The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

·         The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

·         Know who has duties under the Act

·         The regulatory framework and the links with European directives.

·         The hierarchy of Directives, Regulations, Codes of Practice and Standards

·         Environmental regulations


1.3       Legal commentary — Background

An understanding of the historic application of law to industrial plant is important.  In the past the design, materials, manufacture and subsequent usage of this class of plant were not well understood and as a result accidents happened.  Parliament sought to control the situation by ensuring that ‘statutory acts or regulations’ were in place which placed legal obligations on all parties and which could be enforced.  The original framework for industrial legislation was both ‘sectoral’ and ‘prescriptive’.  This sub-divided industrial work into major industries, supplying each with dedicated statutes, each of which had special requirements, unique to itself, which identified ‘sector’.  These pieces of legislation interfaced and covered the whole of the requirements for the sector. All workplace activities were subject to ‘sectoral ‘ control.

Legislation which references industrial equipment included:-

·         Construction (Lifting Operations) Regulations 1961

·         Mines and Quarries Act 1954

·         Factories Act 1961

·         Docks Regulations 1988

·         Ship Building and Ship Repairing Regulations 1961

·         Offices, Shops and Railway Premises (Hoist and Lifts) Regulations 1968

The ‘sector’ to which each applied was evident from its title.  There were a number of other pieces of legislation which either supplemented the main sectoral legislation or were introduced to cater for changes in industrial activity.

The ‘prescriptive’ aspects of each piece of sectoral legislation was the cause of a certain amount of confusion with respect to definition, interpretation and enforcement.  For example, lifting plant including ropes, chains and lifting tackle was defined in each regulation but in differing ways.  This resulted in slightly different approaches depending upon industrial sector without due regard for the risk posed by the equipment.

Other important aspects of ‘prescription’ were carried in historic legislation and included:-

·         Sound material to be used

·         Adequate strength to be provided

·         Patent defects to be absent

·         Safe working load or safe working pressure to be marked

·         Plant to be maintained

These were supplemented by ‘periodic’ prescriptive requirements, the most important of which were:-

·         testing and certification

·         inspection

·         thorough examination and reporting


1.4       The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

This act is the current principle piece of health, safety and welfare legislation in the UK.  It provides a comprehensive framework for dealing with workplace health, safety and welfare.  The act places obligations on all persons at work, employer, employee and the self employed.  The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act is an ‘enabling’ act, which allows enforcement of the requirements of sectoral legislation.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act is all embracing in its terms of reference, but otherwise makes no specific reference to work equipment or items of industrial plant.

The act is in four parts with 85 sections and 10 schedules dealing with:-

1.       General duties

2.       The Employment Medical Advisory Service

3.       Building Regulations

4.       Miscellaneous

The aim of the act is: -

·         To secure the Health, Safety & Welfare of persons at work. 

·         To protect others from risks arising out of a work activity (i.e. protection of members of the public & others)

·         To control the keeping and use of dangerous substances & generally prevent unlawful acquisition etc.

·         To control emissions into the atmosphere of noxious or offensive substances, from prescribed premises.

The act imposes general duties to provide hardware that is safe.

·         SAFE PLANT



and soft systems that enable the hardware to be used with safety.

·         TRAINING




The act imposes duties to protect non-employees e.g. members of the public, visitors & contractors.  In addition duties are placed upon suppliers to ensure that equipment supplied for use at work is safe.

The nature of damage to persons include

TRAUMATIC DAMAGE                  violent external physical contact

INHALATION                                   breathing in a toxic or asphixiant substance

INGESTION                                       oral entry into the body

ABSORPTION                                   entry into the body through intact skin

            ENERGY                                            ionising radiations; sound; ultra-violet and microwave

Accident contributory factors may include

·         Poor attitude to safety

·         Lack of hazard recognition

·         Lack of competent supervision

·         Over confidence

·         Excessive noise

·         Humidity

·         Lack of ventilation

·         Excessive Heat/Cold

·         Boredom - monotony

·         Stress

·         Family problems

·         Alcoholism etc.

·         Fatigue

Two strategies may be used to control hazards:-


·         Substitute non-toxic substance

·         Enclose process

·         Guard machine

·         Engineering controls e.g. Local exhaust ventilation


·         By use of personal protective equipment — goggles, gloves, respirators, ear defenders

·         By personal hygiene — washing, prohibition of smoking, eating etc. in hazardous areas

The ‘Elimination Strategy’ is preferred — safe place approach

The ‘Protection Strategy’ is non-preferred — safe person approach, relies heavily on rules, discipline etc


1.5       The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

These require that employers carry out suitable and sufficient assessment of risk to health and safety.  Risk assessments are covered fully in Module 3 of the Health and Safety Passport.

General principles of prevention are identified in the regulations, these include:-

·         Avoid risks

·         Evaluating risks which cannot be avoided

·         Combating risk at source

·         Adapting the work to the individual, especially the design of workplaces, the choice of work equipment and the choice of working and production methods, with a view, in particular, to alleviating monotonous work and work at a predetermined work rate and to reducing their effect on health.

·         Adapting to technical progress

·         Replacing the dangerous with the non dangerous or the less dangerous

·         Developing a coherent overall prevention policy that covers technology, organisation of work, working conditions, social relationships and the influence of factors relating to the working environment.

·         Giving collective protective measures priority over individual protective measures

·         Giving appropriate instructions to employees

Management arrangements for planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review are requirements.  As are procedures for health surveillance, specialist assistance and actions to be taken in the event of serious or imminent danger


1.6.      European Legislation

As a member of the European Community (EC), the UK is required to implement all laws as promulgated by the Council of Ministers.  Community laws are called ‘Directives’ and the 2 types of Directive that have a direct impact on the inspection activities of an Engineer Surveyor are ‘Product’ Directives (referred to as New Approach Directives) and ‘User’ Directives.  


1.6.1    Product Directives

Product Directives have been developed to cover a wide range of products, their main purpose is to reduce barriers to trade within the EC whilst helping to ensure that products are safe.  Any manufacturer or importer wishing to sell a product that comes within the scope of a Product Directive either into or within the EC must declare that the product meets with all the essential health and safety requirements (EHSRs) of all the applicable Product Directives.  The process of declaring conformity with the EHSRs of all the applicable Product Directives normally requires the manufacturer or importer to produce a ‘Declaration of Conformity’ and to apply CE marking to the product in question.  It is to be noted that CE marking is no guarantee of safety, it is purely a declaration by the manufacturer or importer that in their opinion the product meets with all the EHSRs of all the applicable Directives.


The range of Product Directives that are particularly relevant to Engineer Surveyors are as follows:  

Machinery Directive — This Directive is implemented in the UK by the ‘The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Supply of Machinery (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1994 (SM (S) R)’. These Regulations came fully into force on the 1st January 1995, they cover a wide range of products. The following is a non exhaustive list of examples of machinery which come within the scope of the Machinery Directive:  

  • Excavators

  • Power Presses

  • Mobile Elevating work platforms

  • Mobile work equipment such as dumpers, tippers and lift trucks

  • Accessories for lifting


  • Pressure Equipment Directive: This directive was implemented in the UK by "The pressusre Equipment Regulations 1999". The Directive came fully into force on 30th May 2002 and covers all vessels, piping, safety accessories and pressure accessories which have a maximum allowable pressure of greater than 0.5 bar.

  • Simple Pressure Vessels Directive: This directive was implemented in the UK by "The simple pressure vessels (Safety) Regulations 1991". The regulations came fully into force on 1st July 1992 but were later amended in 1994 to align to align with other product Directive conformity assessment and marketing requirements. The simple pressure vessels (safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1994 came fully into force on the 1st January 1995. They cover Vessels of welded steel or aluminium construction which are intended to contain air or nitrogen at a gauge pressure greater than 0.5 bar but less than or equal to 30 bar and are not intended to be exposed to flame.

  • Lift Directive: This Directive was implemented in the UK by "The Lifts Regulations 1997". The Regulations came fully into force on the 1st July 1999 and apply to all lift safety components and any lift coming under the following definition:


  • An appliance serving specific levels, having a car moving along guides which are ridgid and inclined at an angle of more than 15 degrees to the horizontal and intended for the transport of:

  • Persons

  • Persons and Goods

  • Goods alone if a person may enter the car without difficulty and is fitted with controls situated inside the or within reach of a person inside.

6.2    User Directives  

Once a product is sold the importance of EC Directives shifts from the relevant Product Directive(s) to User Directives.  The most significant User Directive with respect to work equipment is:

The Amending Directive to the Use of Work Equipment Directive (AUWED) — The Directive was implemented in the UK by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98), the Regulations came fully into force on the 5th December 2002.  Module 10 will describe in greater detail the scope and content of these Regulations, all that needs to be said in this Module is that PUWER 98 applies to all work equipment including mobile and lifting equipment.  

It is important to note that compliance of a product with the appropriate Product Directive(s) as denoted by CE marking and/or a Declaration of Conformity does not guarantee that it will comply with all the requirements of PUWER 98.  A full assessment of each new product must be made to make sure that it complies with all the applicable requirements of PUWER 98 in order to ascertain whether it is indeed safe to be put into use.  


1.7       British Standards

Standards bodies exist in many industrialised countries of the world.  The UK’s standards body is the British Standards Institution (BSi).  It works along with government, but is not an arm of government.  Importantly, BSi publications are not law and therefore failure to comply with a British Standard does not constitute a breach of law.  However, British Standards are frequently the most authoritative works available on a given subject and are, or can be taken as, best practice in courts, the final arbiter in the event of dispute.  British Standards always reflect the interpretation of UK law as a minimum requirement.

A wide range of ‘standards’ exist for industrial equipment, most of which concerns manufacturing standards, but some of which are relevant to risk assessment.

Those which concern manufacture also specify design.  Therefore materials, methods and processes of manufacture, heat treatment, conformity assessment and batch testing among other matters are described in general terms.

Those which concern risk assessment highlight failure modes, failure causes and occasionally specify life limitation and indicate rejection criteria.

Essentially therefore standards which cover a type of equipment (a mobile crane standard for example) is a ‘product standard’ and are not likely to assist risk assessment.  It will contain information on ‘how to design and build’ as opposed to ‘how to use’.  Product standards are usually ‘specifications’


1.8       CEN Standards

With the rapid integration of E.C. markets into a common or single market concept has come the need for dedicated European standards.  E.C. member countries are represented at CEN (Comite Europeen de Normalisation) and the resultant standards carry an EN identity, where EN stands for European Norm.

A Harmonised Standard is one which has been mandated by the European Commission and which has been produced by CEN.  After adoption by CEN the Standard is published in the Official Journal of the EC.  National standardisation bodies must implement a harmonised standard at national level.

Any product that is designed and manufactured according to a Harmonised Standard is presumed to be in conformity with the relevant essential requirements of the appropriate Directive


1.9       ISO Standards  

Due to duplication of standards efforts throughout the world there exists an organisation known as the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and BSi takes part in its forums in pursuit of the harmonisation of world standards, representing the UK and Europe, when delegated.  Hence a number of standards exists which carry the abbreviation BS : EN : IS0 as part of their identity


1.10     Codes of Practice

A Code of Practice (COP) is a document which is usually concerned with how an item should be worked to ensure that hazards to health and safety to individuals are addressed or that hazards to the plant itself are reduced.  These codes are often called ‘Safe Use of….’ and whilst a number are published by BSi, there are other important sources.  The Health and Safety Executive, (HSE), trade organisations such as British Industrial Truck Association, (BITA), and Safety Assessment Federation, (SAFed) are among authorities who produce this type of document.

As with product standards, these publications are not ‘mandatory’ requirements for compliance with law, but courts are likely to agree that they constitute ‘best practice’.  In particular Approved Codes of Practice produced by the Health and Safety Commission have special legal status.  If prosecuted for breach of health and safety law, and it is proved that you did not follow the relevant provisions of the Code, you will need to show that you have complied with the law in some other way or a court will find you at fault


1.11     Guidance Notes  

            As the title suggests, these are documents which are intended to provide guidance to users/ owners of plant (work equipment), normally with respect to the interpretation of law in a practical sense.  Most guidance notes are published by the Health and Safety Executive and are an attempt to explain the spirit of the intention of regulations by giving practical examples and laying down expectations.  Guidance is not mandatory, but as with COP’s courts are likely to seek to enforce them as ‘best practice’.


1.12     Interface of Directives and Regulations



Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations


Supply of Machinery  ( Safety) Regulations


Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations


Lift Regulations


Amending Use of Work Equipment Directive


Approved Code of Practice


Machinery Directive


Management of Health Safety at Work Regulations


Lift Directive


Manual Handling Regulations


Pressure Equipment Directive


Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations


Pressure Equipment Regulations


Display Screen Regulations


Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974


Workplace Health Safety and Welfare Regulations


Environmental regulations are wide and varied.  They are designed to ensure that business impact on the environment is minimised. 

Many of the regulations result from EC Directives. Business may be considered as a system with inputs and outputs. Some of the outputs may be harmful for example pollution, noise, heat, as a result these are subject to regulatory control. 

Engineer Surveyors should be aware that they should not act or provide advice to clients that will cause them to act in a way contrary to the regulations

Emissions to air           Energy Loss
Raw Materials


Packaging Noise
Energy in
Water in Products
Ancillary Materials
Liquid Waste Solid waste

Examples of environmental regulation and guidance includes

Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 1999 (COMAH) — The aim of the COMAH Regulations is to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances and limit the consequences to people and the environment of any which do occur.

Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 — These new regulations require tank owners to provide more secure containment facilities for oil tanks to prevent oil escaping into the water environment.

1.14     End of module and next steps

Well done!  By reaching this point you will have finished studying this particular module.  You should now have sufficient knowledge to answer the questions contained at the end of the module.

Answers to the questions should be forwarded to your Health and Safety Manager.

Provided that you have answered the questions correctly, your Health and Safety Manager will forward to you your next self study module.
Click here to answer question on Module 1