Employer's responsibilities

Under health and safety law employers are responsible for managing health and safety risks in their businesses. The following provides a broad outline of how the law applies to employers. Don't forget, employees and the self-employed have important responsibilities too.

It is an employer's duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other people who might be affected by their work activities. Employers must do whatever is reasonably practicable to achieve this.

This means making sure that workers and others are protected from any risks arising from work activities.

Assess risks

Employers have duties under health and safety law to assess risks in the workplace. This means identifying work activities that could cause injury or illness and taking action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk.

Provide information about risks

Employers must give workers information about the risks in their workplace and how they are protected, also instruct and train them on how to deal with the risks.

Consult employees

Employers must consult employees on health and safety issues. Consultation must be either direct or through a safety representative that is either elected by the workforce or appointed by a trade union.

Provide health and safety information

Employers have a legal duty under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations (HSIER) to display the approved poster in a prominent position in each workplace or to provide each worker with a copy of the approved leaflet.

Health and safety law poster, free leaflet and pocket card

Workers - reporting a health and safety issue

If workers think their employer is exposing them to risks or is not carrying out their legal duties with regards to health and safety, and if this has been pointed out to them but no satisfactory response has been received, workers can report this to HSE.

More information

More details on the basics of what employers must do to make their business comply with health and safety law in a low risk business can be found in Health and safety basics for your business .

For more details on how health and safety law is meant to work, HSE has produced a booklet: Health and safety regulation: A short guide.