The Law



The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 sets out the main provisions for securing and improving the safety, health and welfare of people at work. The law applies to all places of work regardless of how many workers are employed and includes the self-employed.

Employer Duties

The core of the legislation is the risk assessment approach and the legal duty on employers to prepare a written health and safety document referred to as a Safety Statement. Employers (including self-employed persons) are also responsible for creating and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.

Employer’s duties include:

  • Managing and conducting all work activities so as to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare of people at work
  • Designing, providing and maintaining a safe place of work that has safe access and egress, and uses plant and equipment that is safe and without risk to health
  • Providing information, instruction, training and supervision regarding safety and health to employees
  • Providing and maintaining welfare facilities for employees at the workplace
  • Preventing risks to other people at the place of work including, for example, visitors, customers, suppliers and sales representatives
  • Have plans in place for emergencies


Employee Duties

Employees, including those employed on a part-time or temporary basis, also have duties including:

  • Comply with relevant laws and protect their own safety and health, as well as the safety and health of anyone who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work
  • Ensure that they are not under the influence of any intoxicant to the extent that they could be a danger to themselves or others while at work
  • Cooperate with their employer with regard to safety, health and welfare at work
  • Use in the correct manner any item provided for protection
  • Participate in safety and health training offered by their employer
  • Report any dangerous situations, practices or defects that might endanger a person’s safety, health or welfare
  • Not to engage in any improper conduct that could endanger their safety or health or that of anyone else


For further information: - free, easy to use, online tool for risk assessments and Safety Statement generation

Free, short, online health and safety awareness courses for employers, employees and business start ups

A Short Guide to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (347Kb)

Guide to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (870Kb)

General Application Regulations 2007 Publications