Updates have been applied to the Workplace Regulations Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) (L24) to make it easier for employers, building owners, landlords and managing agents to understand and meet their legal obligations.

Guidance updates were approved to protect workers’ health and safety – but accidents can still happen.

The updates form part of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) aim to facilitate “access to good quality advice which makes clear what [employers] need to do to protect workers”.

The ACOP provides guidance on complying with the general duties of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA). While they are not law, they do have a special legal status in that in relevant circumstances duty holders can rest assured they are complying with the law if the advice in ACOP material is being followed.

The ACOP was identified for review and revision, consolidation or withdrawal in keeping with a recommendation by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt in his report Reclaiming Health and Safety For All.

Revisions from the previous edition (published in 1992) include:

  • Simplifying the language to clarify what duty holders must do to comply with the Workplace Regulations;
  • Updating the ACOP to include the provisions of the Miscellaneous Amendment Regs 2002;
  • Improving guidance and referring to the most up-to-date and relevant standards for advice; and
  • Removing out-of-date duties and requirements that are superseded by newer legislation.

The revisions to the Workplace ACOP were subject to public consultation and the changes were agreed by the HSE Board and the Minister of State for responsibility for health and safety.

Chris Rowe is the spokesman for HSE, the UK’s national regulator for workplace health and safety.

He said: “Across HSE we are working hard to ensure that employers have access to good quality advice which makes clear what they need to do to protect workers.

“The revised ACOP has not only been updated, it will help employers understand the regulatory requirements on key issues such as temperature, cleanliness, workstations and seating, toilets and washing facilities.”

Where regulations are easy for employers to comply with, health and safety in the workplace is generally of a higher standard. If, however, you have been involved in a workplace accident and blame or negligence can be attributed elsewhere, we can pursue an accident at work claim on your behalf.