Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Introduced to reinforce the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) place a duty on employers to assess and manage risks to their employees and others, to prevent work accidents and work-related illness.

The 1999 Regulations supercede MHSWR of 1992 and 1994, The Health and Safety (Young Persons) Regulations 1997 and Part 3 of The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997

In October 2003 the regulations were amended to 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.

What is required by MHSWR?

In the first instance, employers are required to undertake an assessment of the risks to health and safety of their employees and other people who may be affected by their work activity. Any significant findings should be recorded where there are 5 or more employees in a business.

In undertaking the risk assessment the MHSWR state 9 General Principles of Prevention should be applied. These outline a hierarchy of risk control.

  1. Avoiding risks
  2. Evaluating the risks which cannot be avoided
  3. Combating the risks at source
  4. 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
  5. Adapting to technical progress
  6. Replacing the dangerous by the non-dangerous or the less dangerous
  7. 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
  8. Giving collective protective measures priority over individual protective measures
  9. Giving appropriate instructions to employees

What happens once the assessment has been completed?

It is not sufficient to merely carry out a risk assessment. The regulations require employers to:

  • Make appropriate arrangements to put in place the required health and safety measures identified. This should cover policy, organising, planning, monitoring, auditing and review. Records must be kept.
  • Provide health surveillance where it is appropriate for significant risks. 
  • Appoint competent persons to assist in applying the necessary preventive and protective measures. Individuals may be from within the business or an external source. 
  • Ensure procedures are in place in case of emergencies and other serious and imminent danger. 
  • Provide information and training to employees so they may gain understanding of risks and how to minimise them. 
  • Co-operate and co-ordinate with other employers or the self-employed where the businesses share premises. 
  • Provide temporary workers with information to allow them to comply with health and safety duties. 
  • Facilitate consultation with employees where new work arrangements, equipment or procedures may affect health and safety.
  • Undertake risk assessments to ensure the health and safety of new or expectant mothers. 
  • Ensure the health and safety of young persons is not compromised.


Under MHSWR employees also have duties to report any shortcomings in health & safety arrangements. They should take reasonable care of their own health & safety and those of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions.

Any dangerous situations should be reported and all equipment should be used in accordance with training and instruction.

Claiming for compensation under MHSWR

If you have been injured at work as the result of a health and safety breach, you may be entitled to compensation.

Rather than considering the impact of the regulations in isolation, your solicitor will look at all the facts, witness statements and medical evidence associated with you case in order to advise you on the strength of your claim.

Call us on 0800 612 7456 to discuss your options with a specialist.