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Fact sheets and legal compliance info
LC12. Health & Safety at Work Act (1974)
Date Posted: 04 August 2016
The Health & Safety at Work Act (HSWA) covers occupational health and safety in Britain.

The Health & Safety at Work Act (HSWA) covers occupational health and safety in Britain. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities are responsible for overseeing compliance with the Act, however the rules within the Act apply to all businesses and are designed to protect employers, employees, the self-employed, volunteers and members of the public from workplace dangers. The Act requires everyone to consider the safety and welfare of themselves and those around them and to reduce the risk from hazards that they may encounter. The Act lists potential hazards as: 
  • The environment where the activity takes place (eg the building you teach in) 
  • Methods of handling, storing and transporting things (eg moving high stacks of chairs) 
  • Lack of provision or instruction about health and safety issues (eg where to find the nearest fire exit) 
  • Lack of adequate facilities (eg insufficient access to drinking water on a hot day) 
Risk assessment 

As a dance practitioner you need to think about the welfare of everyone who comes in contact with your service – not only the participants in your class. This may include parents, carers or volunteers accompanying people to your class, musicians accompanying your lessons or anyone else who might be affected by your practice (eg the people using the space after you). Conducting a risk assessment in relation to each class you deliver will help you identify potential risks. Guidance on how to complete a risk assessment can be found here. Planning is the key to ensuring health and safety works well and whilst a risk assessment is not the only step you should take, it will help you to plan ahead. If you engage more than five people in relation to your work you must have a written risk assessment. 

Health and Safety policy 

Every business must have a health and safety policy. If you have fewer than five employees you do not have to write anything down, however you may wish to do so. If you operate a number of classes at one time or engage five or more people you must create a Health and Safety policy that clearly sets out your commitment to managing health and safety effectively. The policy should also set out who is responsible for things and how what you are going to do in practice to achieve your aims. If you work for a larger organisation, ask to see their Health and Safety policy so that you know and understand your responsibilities. 

First Aid 

Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees or volunteers receive immediate attention if they are taken ill or have an accident at work. It’s best practice to ensure you have a first aid kit and either personal knowledge of First Aid or access to someone in the vicinity who is a trained and qualified First Aider whose services you can rely on in an emergency. Self-employed people should have sufficient kit and knowledge to be able to provide first aid to themselves. Dance teachers, particularly those teaching in remote locations, should ensure they always have additional support available and should never be the only adult available should an emergency arise. 

Reporting accidents 

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) require employers, or in certain circumstances others who control or manage the premises, to report to the relevant enforcing authority and keep records. (Health and Safety Executive) See the Health and Safety Executive website for information about the range of issues that you should report:www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/managing/reporting.htm

It is best practice to keep a note of any accidents that may occur that relate to the dance services you provide – whether or not this happens in your class or session (eg if a person leaving your class falls down the stairs). The owner or manager of the building should be advised of any accident that occurs on the premises. If an incident occurs make a note of it as soon as possible noting the time, date, place, people involved, nature of the incident and action taken. This may help you in the event that a claim is made on your insurance.

Legislation: 
  • www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/37 
Further reading: