Failure to carry out health and safety duties under HSWA 1974—offences

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Failure to carry out health and safety duties under HSWA 1974—offences
  • Main duties imposed by HSWA 1974
  • Time for bringing proceedings
  • Starting a prosecution
  • Location of the offence
  • Mode of trial
  • Proving the offences and the burden of proof
  • Risk
  • What does ‘reasonably practicable’ mean?
  • Penalties
  • More...

Failure to carry out health and safety duties under HSWA 1974—offences

This Practice Note summarises the key offences which can be committed under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA 1974) and the process for their prosecution in the criminal courts in England and Wales.

For information on health and safety prosecutions in Scotland, see Practice Notes: Health and safety investigations in Scotland, Prosecution process for health and safety cases in Scotland and Sentencing health and safety cases in Scotland.

Main duties imposed by HSWA 1974

It is an offence for an employer to fail to comply with a duty specified in HSWA 1974, ss 2–6.

HSWA 1974, ss 2–6 set out the general duties of employers, the self-employed, persons who have control of premises, and manufacturers and suppliers to ensure the health and safety of employees and members of the public who may be affected by their work activities. For information, see Practice Note: Safety and the risk to safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

HSWA 1974, s 7 places a duty on an employee to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and others who may be affected by their work activities. See Practice Note: Duty to take reasonable care and interfering with safety.

The general duties to ensure the health and safety of non-employees which is imposed on

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