The purpose of health and safety law is to ensure a safe working environment for employees. In the UK, this requires employers to meet health and safety obligations, predominantly covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA).

This factsheet looks at HSWA and associated legislation, examining employers’ health and safety obligations which include carrying out risk assessments, publishing a health and safety policy, appointing health and safety representatives, and providing safety information and training. The factsheet offers guidance on writing a health and safety policy and employers' duties at the place of work. It concludes by looking at the reporting of accidents and diseases at work.

This factsheet was last updated by by Lisa Ayling, solicitor and employment law consultant, and by Ben Wilmott.

Ben Willmott

Ben Willmott: Head of Public Policy

Ben leads the CIPD’s Public Policy team, which works to inform and shape debate, government policy and legislation in order to enable higher performance at work and better pathways into work for those seeking employment. His particular research and policy areas of interest include employment relations, employee engagement and well-being, absence and stress management, and leadership and management capability.

Ben joined the CIPD in 2003. He started his career in regional journalism and prior to joining the CIPD was news editor and employment law editor at Personnel Today magazine. He has an LLM in Employment law from Kingston University.


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