There is a specific requirement to consider ergonomics/human factors in some UK legislation, listed below. Most of this applies across all industry sectors, but some is specific to the pharmaceutical industry. HSE and other organisations have produced guidance that is intended to help you tackle issues and comply with the relevant legislation. The information produced by HSE is either free for immediate download or available to order at low cost.

The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 (SMR08)

These regulations impose duties upon those who place new machinery, partly completed machinery and safety components on the market, or put machinery into service. They also apply to second-hand machinery which is "new to Europe". They set out the essential requirements which must be met before machinery or safety components may be placed on the market or put into service.

There are basically four three steps to dealing with the requirements:

The HSE is responsible for enforcing these Regulations in relation to machinery supplied for use at work. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have the policy responsibility for these Regulations. More detailed information can be sought from the BIS website and the European Commission Guide.


Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR) (as amended 2002)

Lifting and handling loads can cause MSDs, such as back pain. The Regulations require employers to:

Other areas covered include the task, the load, the working environment, individual capabilities and employer's duties. Revised Manual Handling guidance was published in March 2004. The revision brings it up to date with improvements in the knowledge of the risks from manual handling and how to avoid them.


Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992 (DSER) (as amended 2002)

Working with computer screens and other display screen equipment can lead to upper limb disorders or back pain, as well as stress or visual fatigue. To comply with the Regulations employers should:

Following minor changes to the Regulations revised guidance was published in February 2003.


Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

In general terms, PUWER requires that equipment provided for use at work is:

Full details of the requirements of PUWER are contained in the supporting Approved Code of Practice [ Safe use of work equipment. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Approved Code of Practice and Guidance. L22 HSE Books 1998 ISBN 0 7176 1626 6 ].


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations 1992

The Regulations require PPE; for example, safety helmets, gloves, eye protection and high-visibility clothing, to be supplied and used at work wherever there are risks to workers' health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways.

The Regulations require PPE to be:


Updated 2022-10-20