?Since the inception of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and the creation in the
same year, of the then Health and Safety Commission - education and communication
have had key roles to play. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) itself was created
in 1975. The HSE's remit was to take the requirements of the Health and Safety
Commission and to enforce health and safety legislation in all workplaces, except
those regulated by Local Authorities. Over time the responsibilities of the 2
organisation shifted to include other spheres of influence and eventually they merged
to form the HSE in it's current guise in 2008. Now the HSE is responsible for both the
detail of health and safety regulations in almost every type of environment except the
rail industry, and their enforcement across the whole of the UK.
Back in 1999 a universal communication tool was launched in the form of a poster,
legally required to be displayed in all workplaces. This Health and Safety Law poster
was aimed directly at employees. The purpose being to both inform workers of their
rights under the Health and Safety at work act and to make sure they're aware of their
obligations under this law.
In 2009 a new version of this poster was published. Employers and those responsible
for health and
The poster is split into 4 main sections:
The first is about what employers must do for you as an employee. This section
contains information about what employers are expected or required to do to make
sure any risks to health and safety at work are properly controlled. It also informs
workers about the type of measures that might be taken by an employer to reduce the
risks - like using safety signs.
The second covers what you must do. In this section the responsibilities of an
employee are explained. This includes doing things like following any training which
has been given, taking reasonable care and helping to identify risks that are not
In the third section the poster explains what to do if there's a problem. This part gives
information of who should be informed and how to escalate, including directly to the
HSE, this if the problem is not resolved.
The last section provides specific contact information - for Health and Safety
Representatives in the workplace and externally.
If you're a UK business and you don't currently display an HSE Health and Safety
Law poster - you almost certainly should. If you've got the old (1999 brown) version -
don't let anyone tell you it needs to be changed until 2014. If you're unsure about
whether you need to display a poster - contact the HSE directly. If you do need to buy
one - they're available from a choice of safety sign and safety equipment suppliers or
from the HSE direct.