Why should I follow these rules if they’re not even a legal requirement?


Health & Safety regulations tend not to use words like always, never, must, need, etc, but rather words like adequate, sufficient, suitable, appropriate, etc. This is because generally speaking, Health & Safety law is largely goal-setting rather than prescriptive, and the HSE issue guidance and Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) which give advice as to how employers can reach these goals. The guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated (some risks are so great, or the proper control measures so costly, that it would not be appropriate to leave it to employers discretion as to what to do about them, such as work with asbestos, or explosives), and you are free to take other action, but if prosecuted and it is proved you did not follow the relevant provisions, you will need to prove that you complied with the law in some other way, or be found to be legally non-compliant, and therefore liable.

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