The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA)

Definition - What does The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) mean?

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) is the main legislation that covers occupational health and safety in the United Kingdom. The authorities responsible for enforcing the act, including the relevant statutory instruments, are the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities.

This act is also known as the HSW Act, the 1974 Act, or HASAWA.

Safeopedia explains The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA)

The HSWA places a duty on all employers "to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare at work" of all their employees. Some of the other provisions within the act include the following:

  • Operating and maintaining the working environment, plant, and systems in a safe manner
  • Ensuring that the access and egress to the workplace are continuously maintained and remain safe
  • Proper and safe usage, handling, and storage of dangerous substances
  • Ensuring staff are adequately trained to maintain health and safety standards
  • Providing adequate welfare for staff at the workplace
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