Inertia Safety Limited

Health and Safety Legislation Introduction

This section covers some of the most common and important legislation for health and safety in the  UK.  It is not a complete list, nor is it designed to give the reader an more than an awareness of the legislation.

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

This Act is the most important Act of Parliament relating to occupational health and safety. It covers all people at work (except domestic servants) – and the general public affected by work activities.

The Act is divided into a number of sections, the more important ones are shown below:

Section 2 – Duties of Employers

"2(1) Ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of its employees
2(2) Specific requirements relating to:

  • Maintenance of plant and systems of work
  • Use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances
  • Information, instruction, training and supervision
  • Safe means of access and egress
  • Working environment and welfare arrangements

2(3) … revise a written statement of his general policy with respect to the health and safety at work of his employees and the organisation and arrangements for the time being in force for carrying out that policy, and to bring the statement and any revision of it to the notice of all of his employees."

Section 3 – Duties to others

3(1) – “… ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment may be affected thereby are not exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

This applies to contractors, customers, emergency service personnel… and also trespassers.

Section 4 – Duties relating to premises

“… take reasonable measures to ensure the health and safety of those who are not their employees.”

Section 7 – Duties of employees

"It shall be the duty of every employee while at work:
a) take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work; and
b) … to co-operate with his employer so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be complied with.

Section 8 – Interference and Misuse

"No person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety and welfare in pursuance of any of the relevant statutory provisions.
b) … to co-operate with his employer so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be complied with.

Section 9 – Duty not to charge

"No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee of his any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions."

To see the Act in its entirety click on the following link:

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

These regulations give more definition to the general duties stated above in the Health and Safety at Work Act.  This piece of legislation also introduces requirements for:

  • risk assessment
  • procedures for serious or imminent danger
  • co-operation and co-ordination of employers sharing the same workplace
  • competence and training

To see the regulations in detail click the following link

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 

These regulations have a wide scope that covers many aspects of health and safety issues.  These regulations cover requirements for the following (this is not a complete list):

  • Ventilation
  • Temperature
  • Lighting
  • Cleanliness
  • Room sizes
  • seating
  • Doors and gates
  • Windows and skylights
  • Traffic routes
  • Toilets and washing facilities

The approved code of practice and guidance for these regulations can be downloaded for free from the HSE website by following this link

Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

As the name suggests these regulations cover manual handling at work.  Poor manual handling has historically led to many cases of bad backs and other injuries.  Manual handling is defined as lifting, loading, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving materials lifting, loading, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving materials and hence has a broad scope.

There are a number of good free guidance notes and tools produced by the HSE for the control of risks associated with manual handling.  These can be found by following this link -

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992

These regulations are mostly applied to heavy users of computers.  Long term ill-health can be caused by not ensuring that a computer workstation is correct set-up and by not varying work sufficiently. 

Again, the HSE has developed free guidance for employers and employees to use.  These can be viewed by following this link -

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992

If your company owns, operates or has control over work equipment then these regulations apply to you.  The regulations require companies to ensure that their work equipment is:

  • safe for use
  • maintained and inspected
  • installed safely
  • has suitable safety measures such as emergency stop buttons
  • can be isolated from sources of energy
  • and that people are given sufficient training, instruction and information

These regulations cover most work equipment, but some equipment also need to meet the requirements of other legislation e.g. pressure systems and lifting equipment.

The approved code of practice and guidance on the regulations can be found by following this link:

Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

Personal protective equipment is any equipment that is used to protect the wearer from health and safety risks.  This includes items such as high visibility jackets, hard hats, chemical-resistant gloves, ear defenders and dust masks.

Personal protective equipment should only be used as a last resort when the risks that remain cannot be controlled in any other way.  The correct selection of this type of equipment is essential to ensuring the safety of workers and others.  As well as selection, the regulations also cover maintenance, storage, and correct supervised use of equipment.  There are many types of personal protective equipment and the HSE has released many guidance documents to cover most of the main types.

A short guide to the regulations can be downloaded for free from the HSE website -

Further Information

If you are interested in the history of health and safety legislation then CLICK HERE to go to the timeline page on the HSE's website.

For a  list of current health and safety legislation (statutory instruments) that is enforced by the HSE and local authorities CLICK HERE.