Session 3:
Health and Safety at work Act 1974

At the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Explain the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Describe the role and responsibility of the Employer
  • Describe the role and responsibility of the Employee

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work Act (HSW Act) forms the basis of the health and safety law in UK.


Who does the HSAWA 1974 cover?

The HSWA 1974 is an important act covering the legal duties of:

  • Employers
  • Employees
  • Self-employed

The purpose of the act is to provide a legal framework to encourage high standards of health and safety at work.

What are the aims of the Act?

Its aims are:

  • To safeguard the health, safety and welfare of persons at work
  • To protect the general public from risks to health and safety caused by the activities of persons at work
  • To control the keeping and use of explosive or highly-flammable or otherwise dangerous substances and generally prevent the unlawful acquisition, possession and use of such substances
  • To control the emission into the atmosphere of harmful or offensive substances from premises

Employers' responsibility?

  • Provide a safe working environment.
  • Provide safe equipment and systems of work.
  • Provide information, instruction, training and supervision.
  • Arrange for the safe storage, transport and use of articles and substances.
  • Provide adequate welfare facilities.

Employees' responsibility

  • Take reasonable care of their own health and safety.
  • Take reasonable care of other people who may be affected by what they do or don’t do at work.
  • Cooperate with their employer on health and safety.
  • Not interfere with or misuse anything provided for their health, safety or welfare.

Risk Assessments

To make sure the employee is safe the employer needs to carry out Risk Assessments on all activities.

Risk assessments identify the hazards that may cause a risk to the health and safety of employees or self-employed. Hazards are classified as high, medium or low risks and control measures, or precautions, to reduce the risks must be put in place.

The risk may be to those working on the farm; those visiting, including contractors, other self-employed tradesmen or company salesmen; neighbours and other members of the public.

Risk assessment is the main requirement of health and safety regulations. It is a legal requirement to assess risks.


  • Agriculture can be a dangerous place of work.
  • The employer and the employee have a duty of care to themselves and each other.
  • Workers constantly assess danger in their workplace, and it is up to the employer to have trained the employee well before starting jobs.
  • Risk assessments are a way of ensuring that risks are minimised on the farm.
  • The HSAWA 1974 provides the guidance needed to make the workplace safe.