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UK: Health and safety

Original and updating author: Darren Newman
Consultant editor: Jo Broadbent

Summary

  • A duty on employers to provide a safe place of work and a safe system of working is fundamental to the employment relationship. (See General)
  • Employers have a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, employees' health, safety and welfare at work, and must observe numerous specific requirements in this area, while workers also have various obligations. (See Duties on employers and employees)
  • Safety representatives appointed by a recognised trade union or elected by employees have various consultation and other rights. (See Safety representatives)
  • Responsibility for the enforcement of health and safety law is shared by the statutory Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities. (See Enforcement and penalties)
  • If an employee suffers an illness or injury as a result of his or her employer's negligence and it was reasonably foreseeable that such negligence would result in injury or illness, the employee may be entitled to claim compensation in the courts. Employers are obliged to insure themselves against such claims. (See Compensation for occupational injury or illness)