The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation which deals with workplace health and safety in Great Britain. Sometimes referred to as HSW, HASAW 1974 or HASAWA, it is an act of Parliament that sets out the framework for managing workplace health and safety in the UK.
On first reading of the Act, many notice that is quite vague and general in its detail – this isn’t an accident.
The Act defines general duties for the health and safety of those involved in work and this includes employers, employees, the self-employed, suppliers of work equipment and those who control work premises.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a governmental appointed body which is responsible for enforcing all workplace health and safety legislation in the UK. They do this by working with relevant local authorities to ‘police’ health and safety practice.
The responsibilities of the Employer towards their employees are as follows:
It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.
As discussed the responsibilities of employees is regarded with high importance in the act. These duties are:
Premises holders also have a duty of care, this includes landlords, site owners or anybody who might use their premises, plant or equipment. This doesn’t include domestic premises. The Act says: