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Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974  (also referred to as HSWA, the HSW Act, the 1974 Act or HASAWA) is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain. The Health and Safety Executive, with local authorities (and other enforcing authorities) is responsible for enforcing the Act and a number of other Acts and Statutory Instruments relevant to the working environment.

The full text of the Act (as amended) is available at where it can also be downloaded free of charge.

This is the latest version. Please see the Disclaimer below and information on the website.

Statutory instruments are pieces of secondary legislation made under specific Acts of Parliament. These cover a wide range of subjects, including control of asbestos at work, diving, escape and rescue from mines, ionising radiation and working at height.

If you need further advice on legal matters concerning the workplace, please consult Sources of information and external advisory services.

For some basic information on what employers must do to make sure their businesses comply with health and safety law, visit  Health and Safety Made Simple.


The information on this site is updated and checked for accuracy and completeness from time to time. However it is important to note that legal information must be used with a degree of caution.

Users must be aware that whilst an Act or Statutory Instrument (SI) may still be in force, parts may have been superseded by later legislation or completely withdrawn. If you use a printed or online version of an Act or Statutory Instrument this will generally be in the form that it was originally produced unless otherwise specified.

Any withdrawn or amended sections will still be contained within the Act or SI and there will be nothing in the document to identify those sections that no longer apply.

You can also seek independent legal advice.