The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (also referred to as HSWA, the HSW Act, the 1974 Act or HASAWA) is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain.
The Health and Safety Executive, with local authorities (and other enforcing authorities) is responsible for enforcing the Act and a number of other Acts and Statutory Instruments relevant to the working environment.
A employer has a 'duty of care' to ensure, as far as possible, your health, safety and welfare while you're at work. They should start with a risk assessment to spot possible health and safety hazards.
They have to appoint a 'competent person' with health and safety responsibilities usually one of the owners in smaller firms, or a member of staff trained in health and safety.
Businesses employing five or more people
For businesses employing five or more people, there must also be: an official record of what the assessment finds (your employer has to put plans in place to deal with the risks).
A formal health and safety policy which includes arrangements to protect your health and safety (you should be told what these are).
Employer’s Duty of Care in Practise
All employers, whatever the size of the business, must: make the workplace safe, prevent risks to health, ensure that plant and machinery is safe to use , provide adequate first aid facilities, tell you about any potential hazards from the work