Health & Safety at Work: Time for Change

The Health and Safety Act 1974 is now 50 years old and the authors of this report argue it is no longer fit for purpose.

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About the book

The world of work is changing. Fast. But the framework of law tasked with protecting the health, safety and well being of workers is now 50 years old and – according to the authors of this report – no longer fit for purpose. As a result, work continues to generate large and unacceptable levels of harm, despite the massive reductions of employment in high-risk areas of work like manufacturing, docks, steel and mining.

The authors conclude that the time has come to repeal the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and to fundamentally reform the current framework of law governing workplace health and safety. To support this conclusion, the authors measure the appropriateness of the Act against four central issues: the Act’s application to today’s employment patterns and structures; the oversight and enforcement of employer compliance with their legal duties; worker access to representation on health and safety issues; and the overall governance and resourcing of our regulatory bodies. Looking to the future, the authors offer a number of informed policy recommendations based on good international practices.


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This publication is available free as a hard copy (not including p&p) and electronic download.

This publication has been publishes as an article in the Institute of Employment Rights journal, published by Pluto Journals. More information on the journal can be found on the journal website here.


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