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What is its main point?

The main purpose of the Health and Safety at work act 1974 is: Securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work.

Protecting individuals other than people at work against risks to health or safety rising out of or in connection with the activities of people at work.
Controlling the keeping and use of explosive or highly flammable or otherwise dangerous substances, and generally preventing the unlawful purchase, possession and use of such substances.

(http://www.healthandsafety.co.uk/haswa.htm)

What was it trying to do?


The act was produced to protect the safety and welfare of people during work hours. It was to protect others against risks and danger, and reduce the amount of unlawful substances being brought into the work area. An Act to make further provision for securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work, for protecting others against risks to health or safety in connection with the activities of persons at work, for controlling the keeping and use and preventing the unlawful acquisition, possession and use of dangerous substances.

(http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/37)

How was it planning to do that ?


Standards which must be met to ensure the health and safety of all employees:
Carrying out a risk assessment. Make arrangements to put into practice the health and safety measures identified as necessary, by the risk assessment. Set up emergency procedures. Provide clear information and training to employees; Work together with other employers sharing the same workplace. (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hsc13.pdf)