Health and Safety at Work

Healthy and Safety at Work Act

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering health and safety. Local authorities and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are responsible for enforcing the Act and other statutory instruments relevant to the working environment. Local authorities enforce in offices, public houses, shops, hotels, catering premises and leisure facilities. The HSE inspects factories, mines, fairground rides, building sites, local government offices etc.

We visit workplaces to check that people are complying with the rules. We investigate some accidents and complaints. We only take enforcement action when something is seriously wrong.

Health and safety is about preventing people from being harmed by work or becoming ill by not taking the right precautions - and providing a satisfactory working environment. As health and safety at work is so important, there are rules that require all of us not to put ourselves or others in danger. The law is also there to protect the public from workplace dangers.

Health and safety laws apply to all businesses, however small, and also to the self-employed and to employees.

You may need to register your business and have Employers' Liability Compulsory Insurance if you employ anyone and you must display the insurance certificate. See the free HSE leaflet, Employers' Liability Compulsory Insurance Act 1969.

The Health and Safety law poster must be displayed if you employ anyone. Alternatively you can provide your employees with individual copies of the same information in a leaflet called Health and Safety Law: What You Should Know (available in packs of 25). The poster and leaflets are available from HSE Books.

Injuries at work must be recorded, and some accidents need to be reported.

Safety Policies

All businesses with five or more employees are required to have a written Safety Policy providing the basis for the management of health and safety. Companies smaller than this are also encouraged to have a Safety Policy as good management practice.


For further information, please contact Environmental Health:

Contact: The Environmental Health team

Last updated on 11/09/2023