Text only jump to main content, access key 5 jump to related links, access key 6 Go back to top of this page, access key 7 to return to this page map, access key 8 Accessibility   Site map   Search  
TUC logo
Home  >  Health and Safety  >  Law/Legislation 
Health and Safety


The basis of UK health and safety law is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 which sets out the general principles of health and safety compliance. It describes the general duties employers have towards employees and members of the public, and employees have to themselves and to others. The Act has been supplemented by Regulations, Approved Codes of Practice (ACoP) and guidance.

The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) is responsible for health and safety policy and its executive arm, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is responsible for enforcement of health and safety law. Also the European Union has been creating health and safety directives that all member states are required to incorporate into their own laws.

Failure by an employer to comply with health and safety law is an offence and may lead to prosecution by the HSE or Local Authorities Workers who exercise their health and safety statutory rights, such as reporting the health and safety crimes of their employer, are legally protected from victimisation.


Workers' rights and employers' duties, HSE free leaflets

Worksmart Health and safety law section

Public Concern at Work - PCAW

Rights for whistleblowers

The most recent documents available on this subject are:

TUC welcome for new corporate killing law
Welcoming the news that from Sunday the UK will have a law covering corporate killing, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “Too often in the past senior executives have been taken an overly casual approach towards the safety of their employees. The catalogue of avoidable workplace deaths in recent years has highlighted in stark terms the need for a new law and for a change of attitude from those at the top of British companies.
4 April 2008

Proposed shake up of personal injury claims will harm vulnerable says Kevin Rowan
North East MP Sharon Hodgson is urging Justice Minister Jack Straw 'to listen to the Northern TUC head Kevin Rowan on a proposed shake-up of the claims process for personal injury cases.'
5 July 2007

Top EU court backs UK safety law
The European Union's top court last week dismissed charges that Britain broke EU laws by limiting how far companies need to go in ensuring the health and safety of their employees.
PDF version available for download
22 June 2007

TUC urges employers not to delay making workplaces smoke-free
With just under three months to go before all public places and workplaces in England must become smoke-free, the TUC is today (Monday) urging employers to get their act together and introduce smoking bans into their shops, factories, offices, restaurants and bars.
2 April 2007

Most reportable work accidents not reported
New research for the Health and Safety Executive suggests most legally-reportable workplace accidents, including major injuries, are not being reported.
PDF version available for download
2 March 2007

REACH - TUC Briefing for Safety Representatives
This is a briefing for safety representatives on REACH, the European Regulations on Chemicals which will be introduced into the UK over the coming years.
23 January 2007

Older documents - 29   >

Back to Health and Safety.

Northern TUC / HSE Training Day

Related reps and officer training courses from unionlearn.