Health and safety at work


Health and Safety

This section gives you information about your rights and obligations in health and safety at work. There are many different health and safety statutes and common law obligations which make your employer responsible for your health and safety in the course of employment.

The duty to take reasonable care was explained in the case of Wilsons and Clyde Coal Company v English [1938]. Your employer has to exercise due care and skill in four particular areas;

  1. Provide competent staff
  2. Provide adequate plant and equipment
  3. Provide a safe system of work, and
  4. Provide safe premises

To use this service, scroll down to Related Pages  where you will find detailed guidance with signposts to the best of what is available on the web.  There are more resources in the E-Book shop. You can also use the search facility or the site map to go straight to what you need.  If you need more help contact us and we are happy to help with specific information, advice and directions on what to do.



Grievance cover     Health and safety dismissal cover


Resources available

How to win your workplace personal injury claim

How to prepare a discrimination schedule of loss for the employment tribunal

How to write a grievance about discrimination at work

How to use the discrimination questions procedure

Disciplinary action and capability

Health and Safety Dismissal

Surviving Capability and Performance Management

Employee Representative Guide for non-union workplaces




Common Law

Health and safety is not only governed by legislation. Under what is known as ‘common law’ all employers have a duty of care imposed on them to protect their employees. Many of these common law duties are confirmed or strengthened by statute and regulations.

If your employer fails in any of these obligations to you, you will have a number of avenues to claim compensation. You can resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal.  You can also make a personal injury claim in certain cases.


What protection is there?

The law gives two types protection in health and safety;

First to employees whose role includes designated health and safety duties, for example safety officers and fire marshals as well as those who represent their colleagues on health and safety. If you fall into this category, you are entitled to minimum compensation, regardless of your actual losses.

Second, all employees including;

  • those who are involved in the election of health and safety representatives
  • those who bring harmful or potentially harmful situations to their employer’s attention,
  • those who walk out or refuse to return to work in certain circumstances, those who take certain steps to protect themselves or others in the face of imminent danger


Best of the web

Health and safety laws explained

What is the Health and Safety at Work Act ?



This resource is published by Employee Rescue Limited. Please note that the information and any commentary on the law contained herein is provided free of charge for information purposes only. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. Employee Rescue accepts no responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this update. Further specialist advice should be taken before relying on the contents of this summary. No part of this summary may be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the prior permission of Employee Rescue Ltd.



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