Today, most people take workplace health and safety for granted. However, this focus wasn't always the norm. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA), called a “bold and far-reaching piece of legislation” by John Locke, the Health and Safety Executive’s first Director General, played a pivotal role in transforming workplace safety.

Prior to the HSWA, health and safety laws in the UK began with the Factories Act 1833 during the Industrial Revolution. Despite various laws introduced in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it wasn’t until the HSWA that a comprehensive approach was adopted. This legislation clarified the duties of employers, employees, and others regarding workplace safety, reducing fatal injuries by 90% since 1974.

Now, 50 years later, the HSWA remains relevant, though challenges like hybrid working and technological advancements pose new questions. To celebrate the Act’s anniversary, we will publish articles and recordings exploring its impact and future. We hope this platform is informative and inspires continued improvements in workplace safety for the next 50 years.

Honouring the Legacy: Our Anniversary Activities

In celebration of the Health and Safety at Work Act Etc. 1974, we will be publishing a number of video interviews, webinars and articles with influential health and safety professionals exploring the past, present and future of the HSWA and health and safety management more broadly. We will look more closely at the changes the HSWA has introduced to the ways we work.

We hope you find this platform interesting and learn something from it and we hope you will continue to keep promoting improvements, responding to change and helping make the workplace even safer and healthier over the next 50 years.

  • 50 years of the Act

    The Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 (“HSWA”) has now been part of UK law for 50 years. Learn more.

  • The history of UK health & safety law

    The history of health and safety law in the UK stretches back over two hundred and twenty years. Find out more here.

  • The pathfinders of protection

    Delve into a brief history of some of the pioneers who have paved the way in creating a safer working world for us all. Learn more here.

  • Future challenges of health & safety

    Evolving workplaces require employers to stay ahead of the latest challenges to keep their workforce safe. Explore the details here.

Our Health and Safety Experts

Our team of health and safety law specialists bring a variety of expertise in respect of all aspects of compliance, due diligence, enforcement and litigation to ensure that the risk of exposure to health and safety offences is minimised.

We regularly advise clients on their overarching health and safety duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, as well as on a wide range of more specific regulations. Learn more about the team here

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