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Health and Safety Legislation

Health and Safety Law and Legislation

We aim to raise awareness about the workplace health and safety law and regulations which are the responsibility of all employers.

The Health and Safety Executive

Also known as the HSE, the Health and Safety Executive is the nationwide independent watchdog responsible for enforcing the legislation surrounding health and safety law in the workplace. Its remit is to reduce work-related injury and death across Great Britain.


Click on the links below to read more about health and safety legislation.


Health and Safety at Work Act

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations

RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations)

COSHH (Control of Substances Harmful to Health)

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 England and Wales) Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005

The Working Time Regulations (as amended)

For expert advice on health and safety legislation call 0370 118 8000 now

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is also known as HASAW or HSW and most health and safety legislation is contained in it.

HASAW places the duty on employers to take responsibility for the health and safety of their employees at work “as far as is reasonably practicable”.  This requires employers to:

  • Provide and maintain safe systems of work.
  • Provide adequate health and safety induction and training for staff.
  • Ensure safe operation and maintenance of working equipment.
  • Ensure adequate welfare provisions are made.
  • Provide a safe place of work including maintaining safe access and egress from the workplace.
  • Ensure any materials used are handled, transported, used and stored safely.
  • Communicate with safety representatives.

Costs of PPE or any other equipment needed in the interests of health and safety must not be passed to the employee.

There are responsibilities for the employee too. Employees must:

  • Take care of their own health and safety and that of others.
  • Not interfere with any health hand safety equipment.
  • Cooperate with employers.

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to assess and manage risk in the workplace.

As well as carry out risk assessments, employers must also plan for emergencies and ensure staff receive sufficient induction and training.

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

These apply to most places of work (not construction, mines or ships) and require employers to ensure the working environment is safe, as free from risk as is reasonably possible and that appropriate equipment is provided where necessary.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 cover:

  • DSE including chairs
  • ventilation and windows
  • maintenance of equipment
  • lighting
  • environment around the working area such as traffic, risk of slips, trips and falls
  • falling objects
  • waste
  • entry and egress
  • facilities such as restroooms, changing rooms and meals/drinks

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992

For workers who habitually use a workstation/DSE equipment for a significant time (generally more than an hour a day or regular use) in order to complete their work. For workers who habitually use a workstation/computer/DSE equipment for a significant time (generally more than an hour a day or regular use) in order to complete their work.

The Regulations apply to DSE users who work at home or remotely, contractors and temporary workers.

Under these regulations, employers must:

  • Carry out a risk assessment for each DSE user at their workstation.  This will identify hazards and evaluate any risks. A clear record of the assessment and its findings should be kept and reviewed.
  • Take measures to reduce risk
  • Make provision for eye tests with an optician.
  • Ensure regular breaks are taken
  • Provide adequate training and information for all staff identified as a DSE user.

How We Can Help

Our comprehensive one day DSE Assessor training course can be delivered at our place or yours.

We can carry out DSE risk assessments for your staff; from standard assessments to clinical ones for those suffering complex conditions. The easy way to achieve compliance.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 amended 2002

These regulations require employers to:

  • Avoid the need, where possible, for hazardous manual handling.
  • Assess the risk of injury from manual handling tasks.
  • Reduce the risk “as far as is reasonably practicable”.

In order to achieve the above, employers will need to:

  • Provide information and training on correct manual handling techniques.
  • Ensure equipment provided is suitable for the purpose for which it is intended.
  • Properly maintain manual handling equipment.

Employees have responsibilities too. They should:

  • Follow safe systems of work.
  • Use equipment correctly and safely.
  • Cooperate with employers on health and safety matters.
  •  Let their employer know if they identify any manual handling risks
  • Ensure they do not put others at risk.

How We Can Help

We can train your staff on safe lifting and moving techniques with our Manual Handling course.

Our Manual Handling Train the Trainer course equips delegates with the knowledge and skills necessary to train others correct manual handling techniques AND how to carry out a manual handling risk assessment.

RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995)

Employers are required to report a wide range of dangerous occurrences, injuries, accidents and diseases to the HSE by completing the appropriate report form.

COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002)

This law requires employers to control the use, storage, transport of any substances which may be harmful to health in order to reduce the workers’ possible exposure. In order to do so, employers must:

  • Identify any use of substances harmful to health
  • Assess the risk of using these substances.
  • Reduce or eliminate any risk identified by introducing control measures and ensuring these controls are adequate and properly  used.
  • Provide instructions and training for employees and anyone else who may risk exposure.
  • Provide monitoring and health surveillance if appropriate
  • Plan for an emergency.

When using hazardous substances, employers should consider how these substances cause harm and whether a different substance or process can be used to reduce risk. For instance, painting rather than spraying paint reduces the risk or vapour inhalation.

COSHH covers a wide range of potentially hazardous substances including:

  • Chemicals (bleach for instance)
  • Products containing chemicals
  • Fumes
  • Dust
  • Vapour
  • Germs which may cause disease such as legionella
  • Gases and asphysiating gases
  • Biological agents (look for the hazard symbols on the packaging)

COSHH does not cover asbestos, lead or radioactive substances because they have their own regulations.


The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

PPE is used as a last resort after implementing other controls to reduce or avoid risk.

Employers must:

  • Provide suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) free of charge where it is necessary; defined as “wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways.”
  • Provide instructions and information on how to correctly use the PPE equipment.

PPE equipment may include protective face masks, visors, helmets, goggles, gloves, ear protectors, overalls, safety boots, air filters, hairnets.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

Places duties on businesses and organisations who own, use or operate work equipment. Under these regulations, employers must ensure any equipment provided or used is:

  • Suitable for intended use.
  • Safe to use.
  • Properly maintained.
  • Used only by those who have had proper training or instruction.
  • Accompanied by health and safety measures such as emergency stop buttons and signage.

Some equipment is also covered in other legislation. For instance PPE equipment is covered by the PPE regulations.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005  (England and Wales)

Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006

The regulations state that the ‘responsible person’ (e.g. the employer/building owner/landlord or occupier) must carry out a fire risk assessment  in order to reduce or eliminate the risk of fire and to identify people at risk.

Fire risk assessments must be reviewed and kept up to date and records maintained.

A fire risk assessment should consider the following:

  • Ensuring staff are aware of any risks identified
  • Any sources of ignition
  • The risk of accidental fires
  • Good housekeeping
  • Smoke alarms/bells
  • Fire fighting equipment
  • Entry/exit routes – maintenance and signage
  • Training and induction of staff

Need help?

If you are a ‘responsible person’ and lack confidence in your ability to conduct a fire risk assessment, we are here to help.

One of our experts can carry out the assessment and provide a full report for you.

Do you have trained fire wardens at your place of work?  If not, see how we can help.

The Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended)

These regulations enforce a maximum weekly working hours, limits on night working and health assessments for night workers.