Health & Safety Legislation


The Background

All employers have a statutory duty to take care of the health and safety of all their employees, for example, they should provide first aid equipment, and adequate means of escape in case of fire, protective clothing and ensure all machinery is safe.

In addition, there are specific rules which cover the following:-

  • fire safety. For more information about employers’ responsibilities for fire safety in England,, in Wales visit and in Scotland,
  • cleanliness
  • noise
  • machinery
  • lifting and carrying heavy weights
  • hazardous substances
  • toilets
  • washing facilities
  • drinking water
  • seating
  • first aid facilities
  • temperatures
  • hours and rests. Nearly all workers have the right not to have to work for more than 48 hours on average, a week. Night workers cannot work an average of more than eight hours in each 24 hour period. Workers aged 18 and over (adult workers) are entitled to one day off each week. Workers aged 16-18 (adolescent workers) are entitled to two days off each week. Adult workers are entitled to eleven hours consecutive rest per day, and a minimum 20 minute rest break if their working day is longer than six hours. Adolescent workers are entitled to 12 hours consecutive rest per day, and a minimum 30 minute rest break if they work for longer than four and a half hours
  • use of computers
  • smoking at work is banned.

In England, Wales and Scotland you can find further information on your rights on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website at

In Wales, HSE has a bi-lingual website at

In addition, in Scotland, Safe and Healthy Working has an adviceline on 0800 0192211 and a website at:

In Northern Ireland, the HSENI have an information and advice line on 0800 032 0121 and a website at

If you have a query about the weekly limit on working hours or about night work you should contact the Pay and Work rights helpline on 0800 917 2368.

At IAIS we can guide you through all aspects of Employment Law.


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