Health Safety

Employers are responsible for protecting the health and safety of their staff and other people, such as customers and members of the public, who may be affected by their work.



In general, employers must:

  • make the workplace safe and eliminate or control risks to health;
  • ensure plant and machinery are safe and that safe systems of work are set and followed;
  • ensure articles and substances are moved, stored and used safely;
  • provide adequate welfare facilities;
  • give workers the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary for their health and safety;
  • consult workers on health and safety matters.

For more information on employers’ legal duties see: What you must do.

Directors and leadership

Successful health and safety requires leadership from the top.


Workers, too, have a responsibility to take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions. Health and safety legislation, therefore, requires employers and workers to co-operate.

In general, workers must:

  • take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by what they do or do not do;
  • co-operate with their employer on health and safety;
  • correctly use work items provided by their employer, including personal protective equipment, in accordance with training or instructions; and
  • not interfere with or misuse anything provided for their health, safety or welfare.

Health and safety representatives

The law recognises the roles of both trade union-appointed safety representatives and representatives of employee safety elected by the workforce.

Legal definitions

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 197

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