Archive for July, 2015

Posted on: July 31st, 2015 by admin No Comments

A brief history of workplace safety

The safety enjoyed by those working today is generally expected and to some degree taken for granted by many, but the truth is the relative safety we now experience within the workplace is over 200 years in the making.

You don’t have to look far back into history to see examples of catastrophic failures of health and safety, but these same disasters have paved the way for reforms that now put worker safety at the forefront of the modern business strategy. This blog will take a brief look at some of the legislation that has helped shape the modern workplace.

Today, legal requirements are in place to protect individuals, but if you take a look back to the start of the industrial revolution there were far less of these stipulations present. As a result, industries such as the cotton trade were typified by long hours of labour, and the nature of the work being done meant that the workplace was extremely hot, with steam engines further contributing to the heat in this and other industries. Machinery was not always fenced off and workers would be exposed to the moving parts of the machines constantly, often loosing limbs whilst working for very little money. Children were often employed to move between these dangerous machines as they were small enough to fit between tightly packed machinery. All these different factors led to workers being placed in a great deal of danger, facing serious injuries and often death.

In 1833, the Factories Act led to the creation of the first factory inspectors and the first real commitment to improving workplace safety. Initially charged with preventing injury amongst child labourers, they came to exercise considerable legislative influence on factories around the UK. By 1860 their sphere of influence had greatly increased. No longer simply observers, they became well respected advisors in their own right, and as this culture of inspection grew others came to respect the minimum standards that were acceptable. These inspectors played an important part in laying the foundations for the further legislation that was to follow.

The introduction of the Quarries Act in 1884 and the Agriculture (Safety, Health and Welfare Provisions) Act in 1956 were signs of this same commitment spreading to other parts of UK industry. They marked a nationwide commitment to safer working conditions and gave inspectors the necessary regulatory clout to enter premises and enforce legislation, ultimately improving working conditions.

1974 saw the implementation one of the most recognisable pieces of legislation used in today’s industry, the Health and Safety at Work Act, and also marked the departure of prescriptive and detailed regulations put in place by previous act; which were often hard to follow and difficult to adapt to different contexts. In its place a much less prescriptive and more goal based regulatory system was established that, for the first time, involved both employers and employees in the designing of a modern health and safety system.

Since this time, a number of different industry specific acts have been formed and implemented such as the Asbestos Licensing Regulations (1993) and the Noise at Work Regulations (1989) that have all helped to contribute to a working environment where individuals can be sure that they are protected.

Here at Logical Storage, health and safety is central to all the work we do, and we pride ourselves on going above and beyond industry standards. To find out what Logical Storage can offer you, call us on 0845 689 1300 or visit our website for more information.