Health and Safety Legislation

Last reviewed on 16/07/2014 14:06

This page gives details of some of the health and safety legislation that apply to all employers and workplaces, and those extra duties that apply to workplaces with more than five employees.

Regulations relating to specific areas and activities can be found via the relevant topic page.

Quick links:

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

The HSE is the UK government body responsible for enforcing health and safety at work legislation. The HSE also plays a major role in producing advice on health and safety issues, and guidance on relevant legislation. The role of enforcement is split between HSE and local authorities depending on the business sector.

In addition, HSE conducts research into the effectiveness of regulations and other health and safety issues, consults with employers and employees representatives, and advises legislators and government on health and safety.

The HSE website contains a wealth of information and guidance on maintaining health and safety at work, and detailed advice on complying with health and safety regulations.

→ Visit the HSE website (external site)


back to top

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

Often referred to as HASAW or HSW, this Act of Parliament is the main piece of UK health and safety legislation. It places a duty on all employers "to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work" of all their employees.

Among other provisions, the Act also requires:

  • safe operation and maintenance of the working environment, plant and systems
  • maintenance of safe access and egress to the workplace
  • safe use, handling and storage of dangerous substances
  • adequate training of staff to ensure health and safety
  • adequate welfare provisions for staff at work.

Employers must also keep and revise a written record of health and safety policy and consult with employees or their representatives on such policies (this only applies to those employing five or more).

The full text of the Act, including all current amendments, can be downloaded from the HSE website's HSWA pages.

→ Visit the HSE pages on HSWA (external site)


back to top

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a duty on employers to assess and manage risks to their employees and others arising from work activities.

Employers must also make arrangements to ensure the health and safety of the workplace, including making arrangements for emergencies, adequate information and training for employees, and for health surveillance where appropriate.

Employees must work safely in accordance with their training and instructions given to them. Employees must also notify the employer or the person responsible for health and safety of any serious or immediate danger to health and safety or any shortcoming in health and safety arrangements.

→ View The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (external site)


back to top

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995

Known as RIDDOR, these regulations require employers, the self-employed and people in control of premises, to report work-related deaths, major injuries, work-related diseases and dangerous occurrences.

Incidents can be reported:

The HSE's RIDDOR pages give detailed information about the requirements of the regulations, what should be reported, and statistics gathered from RIDDOR incident reports.

→ Visit the HSE's RIDDOR webpages (external site)

→ View The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (external site)


back to top

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

These regulations are concerned with the working environment. They place a duty on employers to make sure that the workplace is safe and suitable for the tasks being carried out there, and that it does not present risks to employees and others.

The regulations cover all aspects of the working environment, including:

  • maintenance of the workplace, equipment, devices and systems
  • ventilation
  • temperature in indoor workplaces
  • lighting
  • cleanliness and waste materials
  • room dimensions and space
  • work stations and seating
  • condition of floors and traffic routes
  • falls or falling objects
  • windows and transparent or translucent doors, gates and walls
  • windows, skylights and ventilators
  • ability to clean windows, etc. safely
  • organisation, etc. of traffic routes
  • doors and gates
  • escalators and moving walkways
  • sanitary conveniences
  • washing facilities
  • drinking water
  • accommodation for clothing
  • facilities for changing clothing
  • facilities for rest and to eat meals.

The HSE has produced an Approved Code of Practice and Guidance booklet for this legislation. It is a priced publication, copies of which can be ordered via the HSE Books website:

→ View details of the HSE's Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (external site)


back to top

This webpage available in other languages



back to top