Page 3: Health and safety legislation
All workers need health and safety protection. These include contractors and the local community. It is in the interest of a business to protect its workforce or any group who might be affected by its operations.
There are a number of health and safety laws that affect all businesses, including:
- HSAWA - The Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974 sets out a legal responsibility of businesses to create healthy and safe working conditions. Employees are expected to work in a safe way with due respect for fellow employees and the wider public. Individuals are responsible for taking care, using the right equipment and reporting faults. HSAWA, 1974 covers details such as health and safety training and the identification and elimination of all risks in the workplace.
- COSHH - The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, 1999 sets out regulations about how potentially dangerous substances must be handled. This has clear implications in the nuclear industry. Uranium and other substances require detailed instructions and procedures about how they are handled. There are multiple safety precautions involved.
- The Nuclear Installations Act is the fundamental directive to which NDA works. However, the Factories Act, 1961 also sets out details of working conditions such as working temperature and ventilation which are applicable to NDA's site contractors.
- Fire Precautions Act, 1971 sets out regulations about fire safety equipment, safety checks and fire drills.
- Working Time Directive, 1999 sets out maximum hours that employees can work in a particular week. This is important for all workers but especially when working in the nuclear industry.
The following NDA procedures, relating to its employees' working environment, show the importance of health and safety issues:
- It is a disciplinary offence not to obey H&S requirements. Employees need to be well educated to ensure instructions are followed clearly and put into practice.
- Health, safety and security for people and the environment are a key objective of the NDA. The toxic nature of nuclear materials requires great care to be taken at all times.
- Inspections are carried out regularly and any areas needing attention are dealt with immediately.
- NDA hosts events on 'best practice' for the nuclear industry. This helps businesses worldwide to benefit from NDA”s expertise.
- As a government-sponsored organisation, it reports on its performance in these areas.
- NDA is accountable to the Health and Safety Executive. This inspects premises to make sure that laws are being upheld.
The outcome of these practices is that employees across the industry enjoy probably the highest levels of safety of any employees in the UK.