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The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) overview...

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is a key piece of legislation that governs health and safety in the workplace. The Act was introduced to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of employees and others who may be affected by work activities. It applies to all workplaces and places a duty on employers, employees, and others to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of individuals at work.

Here are some key points and provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974:

Overall Duty:

  • Employers have a general duty to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare at work of all employees.

  • Employers are also responsible for the health and safety of others who may be affected by their work activities, such as visitors, contractors, and the general public.

  • Employers are required to conduct risk assessments to identify and assess potential hazards in the workplace.

  • Steps should be taken to eliminate or control identified risks to ensure the safety of employees and others.

  • Employers must provide and maintain a safe working environment, including safe systems of work, equipment, and facilities.

  • Employees are required to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions at work.

  • They must cooperate with their employer in meeting health and safety requirements and report any hazards or concerns.

  • Employers are encouraged to consult with employees or their representatives on matters related to health and safety.

  • Health and safety representatives can be appointed to represent employees in discussions with employers.

Enforcement and Penalties:

  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the main enforcing authority for the Act. It has the power to inspect workplaces, investigate incidents, and take enforcement action.

  • Penalties for non-compliance can include fines and, in serious cases, imprisonment.


  • The Act specifies various offenses, such as failing to ensure the health and safety of employees, failing to conduct risk assessments, and obstructing health and safety inspectors.

  • Employers are required to keep records of risk assessments, health and safety policies, and any measures taken to address identified risks.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 has been amended and supplemented by various regulations over the years to address specific risks and industries. It serves as a foundation for health and safety regulations, providing a framework for employers to create safe working environments and promoting a culture of responsibility and awareness regarding health and safety at work.

What are the other regulations that come under the Act?

As mentioned various statutory instruments and amendments have been brought into the overarching Health and Safety at Work Act in order to keep people safe when they are at work. Some of these include the provision for good protective equipment (PPE) and the adequate safeguarding of workers who are using display equipment. In this section, we take a look at what these different regulations cover.


Personal Protective Equipment Regulations (PPE) 2018

The PPE Regulations attempt to protect employees who operate in a dangerous environment that presents additional risks during working operations. Employers must provide PPE where harm cannot be reduced through other methods; in this way, PPE acts as a last line of defence against hazards.

Risk assessments must be provided prior to the provision of PPE to work out what type of risks are present and what type of resulting equipment is needed to mitigate them. Some of the main examples of PPE include:

  • Hard hats

  • High-visibility jackets

  • protective eyewear

  • safety harnesses

  • steel toe cap boots

  • respiratory equipment

In terms of what employers need to do, they must provide a suitable provision of PPE that is appropriate for the work in hand and effective against the hazards present.

Where more than one kind of PPE needs to be worn, the effectiveness cannot be compromised. All PPE must work together to protect against different risks.  PPE must also be stored properly and kept in good operational condition.

Replacements parts must also be changed when needed for certain types of PPE.

Employees must also be properly trained on how to use and properly wear the PPE provided. This will help ensure it can properly protect against the hazards present. Employees must report any damages to or losses of PPE to the employer so that replacements can be attained.


Display Screen Equipment Regulations (DSE) 1992 (amended 2002)

These regulations cover those who use DSE at work for more than one hour at a time. Employers should take risks to reduce the health risks associated with DSE equipment such as ergonimical issues and RSI (Repetetive Strain Injury). Here are some of areas you need to cover if you want to be compliant with the DSE (1992) regulations:

  • Make sure workers take regular breaks and make use of equipment which can reduce risks

  • fill in an adequate DSE workstation assessment

  • provide eye and eyesight tests for free when requested

  • give training on how to use DSE equipment safely

It is worth stating that these regulations remain important even with many workers operating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, the risks may have changed so it is worth checking in on employees.

If you need any further information in regard to the Health and safety At Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) please give YCDI .training a call on 01782 438813 or email

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