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Health and safety at work: criminal and civil law


There are 2 parts to the law – civil and criminal. They’re not the same.

As an employer, you must protect your workers and others from getting hurt or ill through work.

If you don’t:

  • a regulator such as the Health and Safety Executive or local authority may take action against you under criminal law
  • the person affected may make a claim for compensation against you under civil law

Neither the Health and Safety Executive nor local authorities enforce civil law or set the rules for the conduct of civil cases.

Industry specific health and safety legislation

Updated 2019-11-04