What does health and safety law require?

What health and safety law requires on manager competence and training, as well as consultation with employees.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires you to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of your employees.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also require employers:

  • Under Regulations 3 and 5 to assess risks to the health of employees, and to identify and put in place the control measures needed to manage such risks; competence of individuals, including front line managers and supervisors, is an important component of an effective health and safety management system;
  • Under Regulation 7 to have sufficient competent health and safety assistance to meet requirements under health and safety law; and
  • Under Regulation 13 to ensure that employees receive adequate health and safety training, and that individuals' health and safety capabilities are taken into account when assigning them work.

There is a legal duty on employers to consult safety representatives appointed by a recognised trade union (under the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977), and a commitment under the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 to consult employees who are not represented by a trade union safety representative, on matters relevant to their health and safety.

Although not a requirement of health and safety law, you will also need to take account of duties under the Equality Act 2010.