The necessity for safety in the working environment is determined by economic, humanitarian and legal requirements. The material aspects of plant and substances has been covered. These can be analysed, weighed, measured and readily controlled. Safe systems of work however involve people with their human fallibilities and the law has had to be invoked in an attempt to enforce a measure of control on the activities of people. The historical basis of English law is still the ancient Common Law of England, as modified and extended by the judiciary. In the course of time it was found that industrial technology had outstripped the ability of Common Law to cater for all the problems of the 19th and 20thcenturies. The involvement of legislation became necessary and has resulted in a considerable body of Statute Law. At the present time the Factories Act, 1961, and the consequent regulations are of prime importance to industry and impose minimum standards.
The field of accident prevention is rapidly becoming more complex. Problems of plant design and possible hazardous materials occur more frequently. Concern for the health of people and the quality of the environment are increasingly with us. Codes of practice, national and international, proliferate, usually advisory in character, but these standards are increasingly taken as the standards required, for example the code on noise, without being specific legal requirements. Having said this the patterns of injury and damage still indicate that the basic requirements are still essentially those of good house-keeping and well organised procedures.
V P England, Fisons Ltd., United Kingdom.
13 Pages, 2 Figures.