Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA)

Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974

Often referred to as HASAWA or HSWA, this Act of Parliament is the main piece of UK health and safety legislation. It places a duty on all employers “to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work” of all their employees.

Among other provisions, the Act also requires:

  • safe operation and maintenance of the working environment, plant and systems
  • maintenance of safe access and egress to the workplace
  • safe use, handling and storage of dangerous substances
  • adequate training of staff to ensure health and safety
  • adequate welfare provisions for staff at work

Employers must also keep and revise a written record of health and safety policy and consult with employees or their representatives on such policies (this only applies to those employing five or more).

The full text of the Act, including all current amendments, can be downloaded from the HSE website.