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Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999


The Regulations were introduced to reinforce the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The MHSWR places duties on employers and employees including those who are clients, designers, principal contractors or other contractors.

Many of the duties overlap with those of CDM but where they go beyond CDM (for example concerning young people and expectant mothers) additional measures will be needed to comply fully with MHSWR.

They require the employer to:

  1. Undertake an assessment of the risks to health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their work activity. Employers with 5 or more employees should record the significant findings of this risk assessment.
    The following General Principles of Prevention should be applied. Many people refer to this listing and derivations from it as a hierarchy of risk control.
    • avoiding risks;
    • evaluating the risks which cannot be avoided;
    • combating the risks at source;
    • adapting the work to the individual, especially as regards the design of workplaces, the choice of work equipment and the choice of working and production methods, with a view, in particular, to alleviating monotonous work and work at a predetermined work-rate and to reducing their effect on health;
    • adapting to technical progress;
    • replacing the dangerous by the non-dangerous or the less dangerous;
    • developing a coherent overall prevention policy which covers technology, organisation of work, working conditions, social relationships and the influence of factors relating to the working environment;
    • giving collective protective measures priority over individual protective measures; and
    • giving appropriate instructions to employees.
  2. To make appropriate arrangements for managing health & safety. Employers of 5 or more should record these arrangements
  3. Undertake any health surveillance as is necessary regarding the employees when it has been determined by the risk assessment
  4. To appoint competent people, preferably their own employees, to assist in the above measures. Where there is more than one competent person appointed there must be adequate co-operation between them
  5. Establish procedures to be followed by any employee should situations arise which could present serious or imminent danger i.e. an evacuation procedure
  6. Provide relevant information on health & safety in an understandable form
  7. Ensure co-operation and co-ordination between employers and the self employed sharing a workplace
  8. Ensure employees are given adequate health and safety training and are not given tasks beyond their competence or physical capabilities
  9. Provide temporary workers with the appropriate health & safety information to enable them to carry out the work safely

Employees also have duties under MHSWR to:

  • Report any shortcomings in health & safety arrangements
  • Report dangerous situations
  • Use equipment in accordance with training and instruction
  • Take reasonable care of their own health & safety and those of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions

The 1999 Regulations revoke:

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations were amended in October 2003 to remove the civil liability exclusions in the 1999 Regulations and allow:

  • Employees to claim damages from their employer in a civil action, where they suffer injury or illness as a result of the employer breaching the 1999 Regulations.
  • Employers to bring actions against employees for breaches of their duties under the 1999 Regulations.