It is 40 years since the Health and Safety at Work Act received Royal Assent, providing a new regulatory framework for work place health and safety in Great Britain. This has helped make Britain one of the safest places in the world to work, saving thousands of lives, preventing many more injuries at work and reducing the economic and social costs of health and safety failures.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 was described as a bold and far-reaching piece of legislation" by HSE's first Director General, John Locke. It is a law with broad cross-party support and which many still regard as a world-class piece of legislation.
The Health and Safety at Work Act is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain. Based on consultation and engagement, the new regime was designed to deliver a proportionate, targeted and risk-based approach that has stood the test of time.