Employers also have obligations under health and safety law to protect young people doing work experience, mobile workers, home workers and agency workers. Under Section 1 of the Deregulation Act 2015, the Government amended Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which placed a general duty on the self-employed to protect themselves and others from risk to their health and safety.
Self-employed people whose work activities pose no potential risk of causing harm to others are now exempt from health and safety law.
Northern Ireland has separate legislation concerning health and safety, although the rules are very similar to those in England, Scotland and Wales. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE, www.hse.gov.uk) monitors and enforces the regulations in England, Scotland and Wales, and the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI, www.hseni.gov.uk) monitors the regulations in Northern Ireland.
What are the key health and safety regulations?
There are a number of key pieces of legislation, including the following:
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
The main piece of health and safety legislation that every employer must comply with. It stipulates that an employer has a duty of care in relation to the health, safety and welfare of their employees and anyone else affected by their business activities. This includes contractors, clients, suppliers or any other person who could be affected by the work of the business, including members of the public. Employees also have certain responsibilities to ensure their own safety and the safety of others under the Act.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
This legislation requires all employers (regardless of how many employees they have) to carry out workplace health and safety risk assessments, provide health and safety information and training to employees, and make special arrangements for certain employees, such as pregnant women and young people.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 place a duty on employers to ensure that workplaces meet the health, safety and welfare needs of all employees.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for health and safety regulation in Great Britain. It publishes guidance on the health and safety obligations of employers.
Tel: 0300 003 1747
The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) is responsible for health and safety regulation in Northern Ireland. It provides information on the health and safety obligations of employers.
Tel: 0800 032 0121
To read this introductory guide in full on Health & Safety, download the pdf below.