What Is the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

We’re looking into the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act, 1974; what it covers and what it means today.

Health and safety checklist


Your safety matters to us. This is why at Armadillo Safety we prioritise you and the protection of your workplace. As one of the top health and safety consultants in London, we’re qualified and experienced enough to give our professional advice regarding the safety of your workplace and the well-being of everyone involved.

In this blog, we’re discussing the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. We’ll be exploring what it means, what it covers, and what it looks like today.


What is the Health and Safety at Work Act?

It’s the primary piece of legislation covering workplace health and safety in Great Britain. The Act of Parliament is also known as HSW, HSWA, HASAW 1974, or HASAWA. HASAW 1974 sets out the general workplace safety duties regarding:

  • Employers
  • Employees
  • Owners
  • Managers
  • Maintainers of work premises

It was put into place following the recognition of dangerous working conditions in factories and mines in the UK. Prior to HASAW 1974, many different, unrelated laws covered separate workplaces. The Act aimed to provide an easy-to-follow guide that was flexible enough to be applied to all workplaces despite their size or the risks involved.


What Does HASAW 1974 Cover?

Please remember that this is a brief overview of the Health and Safety at Work Act. We are covering the basics that all workplaces must have in place, not specific regulations for all industries. To ensure that the correct procedures are in place for your business, consider taking advantage of our competent person services. By hiring a competent person from Armadillo Safety, you’re guaranteed to be kept up to date with any legislation changes, so you know you’re always covered.

The Health and Safety at Work Act requires that workplaces provide the following

  • Sufficient training is given to all staff to guarantee health and safety procedures are recognised and adhered to
  • The maintenance of a safe working environment
  • Sufficient welfare provisions for members of the workplace
  • Acceptable provision of applicable information, instructions, and supervision

As mentioned, these are just a few examples of the protection that HASAW 1974 provides. You must ensure your business has the correct regulations in place to comply with the law and protect the well-being of everyone involved. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can guarantee this.


Happy construction worker


The Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 Today

2020 saw many changes, particularly in the world of health and safety. Emergency laws and legislations were put in place, and HASAW was altered accordingly. Here are a few of the legislation changes from March 2020:

  • Coronavirus Act 2020. This included emergency registration of health professionals and temporary modifications regarding mental health laws.
  • Environmental Protection England Amendment Order. This meant that no charges were added to single-use plastic bags when used for grocery home delivery.
  • EH40/2005 (4th Edition). This meant a review of COSHH risk assessments to reduce exposure to the virus.


Remember that HASAW 1974 affects all businesses, no matter how big or small. To ensure the proper regulations are in place, talk to our team about our health and safety advice for small businesses. Additionally, get in touch to learn more about our safety compliance services and find out what we can do to protect your business.