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What does the Health and Safety at Work Act cover?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 covers the health and safety standards that should be practised in the workplace. The Act states out the duties everyone has to take to protect themselves and others from workplace hazards.

What are the 4 main objectives of the Health and Safety at Work Act?

The 4 main objectives that the act enforces are:

  • Employers’ responsibilities
  • Employees’ responsibilities
  • Enforcement of Health and Safety legislation
  • Enforcement action

Employers’ responsibilities

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 puts a responsibility on the employer to do all they can look after their employees. Employers are required to provide relevant safety equipment and safe working environment for their employees. They must also provide relevant training to their workers, so they know how to keep themselves safe. The Act requires employers to provide a risk assessment and safety policy as well as looking after the safety of the public.

Employees’ responsibilities

The onus isn’t just on the employer; the employee also has there specific responsibilities. The Act requires them to work in a responsible way which won’t endanger themselves or others. Employees must also cooperate with employers to ensure health and safety practices are carried out.

Enforcement of Health and Safety legislation

The relevant health and safety personnel must carry out inspections of your organisation. The inspector has the power to enter your business anywhere and any time and has the rights to see and touch anything. They can also ask any question they need to conduct their work and seize any article or substance if need be.

Enforcement action

The Health & Safety Act covers any enforcement action you may face for health and safety negligence.

Legal notices are a document that requires a person to do or not do something. An improvement notice will tell you how to put right your wrong before a deadline. A prohibition notice tells unsafe work or use of machinery to stop.

If the HSE catch employee or employer not working to legislation, they could face a fine or imprisonment. The Act features all details relating to the enforcement.


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