Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 as amended in 2003 and 2006 (or more commonly MHSAW regulations) was introduced to support the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 and specify a range of management issues that must be addressed and implemented in all workplaces.

The overall aim of the regulations is to identify the risks within an organization in a systematic way and ensure that all staff are familiar with the measures and their responsibilities towards implementing those measures.

Updated for 2021


man slipping on the stairs. management of health and safety at work regulations

Every employer is required to carry out a ‘suitable and sufficient’ assessment of the risks involved to employees and others affected by the work of the organization.

This includes members of the public, visitors, contractors and anybody affected by the works in progress.

A systematic assessment of the risks involved is required, as well as identifying those who might be affected and how they might be harmed. Controls should then be put in place to reduce or eliminate the risk.

In section 3(2). Every self-employed person shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of—

(a) the risks to his own health and safety to which he is exposed whilst  at work. (b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising from his works or undertakings.

Special note, awareness and risk avoidance must be made of any young or vulnerable persons, and any employee expecting or nursing a child.

Where there are 5 or more people in the organisation, the significant risks and controls must be written down or recorded electronically on a computer or hand held device.

The assessment should also be revisited and reviewed regularly, particularly if there has been any changes to the working situation. In that case the assessment should be modified accordingly.

Examples of this might include the introduction of new machinery, or a new operator. Changes in shift patterns requiring a handover, a change of location or premises, a change of ownership, after a period of time (typically 12-months) or any other time that circumstances make it necessary, or following an accident/incident.


The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations states: – “Where an employer implements any preventive and protective measures he shall do so on the basis of the principles specified in Schedule 1 to these Regulations“.

This generally breaks down to include the following –

Avoiding the risks:

Can the work be done in a different way? Any new way will need assessing to ensure no new hazards are being introduced.

Evaluating the risks that cannot be avoided:

This is achieved by carrying out a further risk assessment.

Combating the risks at source:

An example of this would be trailing cables and extensions around an office floor creating trip and possible fire hazards from overload. Far better to get a qualified electrician in and install additional sockets so that appliances can be plugged in at source.

Adapt the work to suit the individual:

When designing or laying out workplaces, consultation with employees can be vital in selecting work that makes the task simpler and less dangerous. Simply buying in equipment or PPE irrespective of whether it can be used properly by the people who are going to use it is both false economy and potentially hazardous.

Also, in order to avoid accidents and ill health caused by boredom or monotonous work, consider carrying out the work in phases or rotating staff.

Individuals that have increased control over the work for which they are responsible are more engaged and have less time off for sickness and accidents.

Technical progress:

Adapting to technical progress will remove the need for a person to perform dangerous activities, making work methods safer.

Dangerous conditions and poor practices:

Replacing the dangerous with the non-dangerous or the less dangerous, organising/improving the working conditions along with the environment and culture of the organisation will enhance the safety of the business and improve the methods of work.

Protective measure:

By giving collective protective measures priority over individual protective measures will protect the whole workplace rather than a single individual. Obviously personal PPE still plays a great importance, but it is far better to install an extraction unit in a spray booth for example than issuing each employee with  personal RPE that relies on the user wearing and maintaining it correctly.

Appropriate instruction:

All employees and the self-employed should understand what they must do to protect themselves and others. A positive health and safety culture that filters down from the top will further reinforce the message.


man with a briefcase and hard hat. management of health and safety at work regulations

Formal arrangements must be put into place to demonstrate effective and robust Planning, Organization, Control, Monitoring, and the Review of safety measures within an organisation.

Where there are 5 or more employees then this must be a written document.

> Planning. This requires a simple but systematic approach to the assessment of risk within an organisation towards employees, visitors and anybody else who may be affected by its actions. Also, the controls must be identified to either reduce the risk to the lowest practicable level, or where possible eliminate the risk entirely by devising a different method of work.

> Organisation. Involvement of employees in consultation and risk assessing their job role, along with suitable training and instruction so that everybody knows their responsibility towards health and safety in the workplace.

> Control. The policy requires an element of control and clarification so that everybody is aware of their roles and responsibility and the hazards can be controlled.

> Monitoring. Requires the measurement of how well the controls are being implemented. This might include management inspections, documented daily check, a review of incident and accident statistics or even absenteeism.

Review. The system (or policy) should be reviewed regularly (at least annually) to ensure it is still relevant, effective and on track to achieve its purpose.


In appropriate circumstances the health surveillance of employees may be required.

Health surveillance may be required when there is evidence of an identifiable disease or a work practice that has the potential to cause illness, such as working with chemicals, processes, fumes, dusts and mists for example.


works supervisor. management of health and safety at work regulations

Every employer or organization is required to appoint competent assistance to assist in discharging the duties that the company has towards safety and health.

This may be an internal appointee or an external consultant. However, the preference is towards internal competent person or persons backed up by external expertise.

Competence is measured by appropriate training, knowledge of the workplace processes and being aware of one’s own limitations. At that point, or if the situation is complex it is handed over to a suitably qualified external consultant.

Appointed competent persons must be provided with adequate resources, time and information to do their job properly.


management of health and safety at work regulations

Procedures must be put into place for serious situations such as fire.

A sufficient number of trained competent persons must be in place to deal with evacuation in the case of such emergencies.

In a shared building, the different occupants must cooperate with each other and not block off shared emergency access routes for example. (Also see regulations 11, 12, 15 for shared workplaces)

Access to dangerous areas must be restricted to appointed persons who must be trained, and contact with outside emergency services must be part of an established procedure.


desk worker using DSE. management of health and safety at work regulations

Employees must be provided with information on risk assessments, emergency procedures and health and safety matters, taking into account factors such as experience of the employees, knowledge, training and language differences.

It should be provided in a way that is easily understood, giving consideration to translations, pictograms and symbols.

Where children under school-leaving age are working on the premises, information about risk and risk control should be provided to the parents or guardian of the child. It can be provided written or verbally.


Where two or more employers share a workplace (whether on a temporary or a permanent basis) each employer shall—

Co-operate with the other employers concerned so far as is necessary to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon them under the relevant statutory provisions and by Part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997.

Take all reasonable steps to co-ordinate the measures he takes to comply with the requirements and prohibitions under the relevant statutory provisions and by Part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997.

Take all reasonable steps to inform the other employers concerned of the risks to their employees’ health and safety arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking.

In other words coordinate and cooperate with all other businesses in the building to ensure safe working practices are observed so as not to endanger anybody in the building, and ensure that all escape corridors, stairs, routes and exits are kept clear at all times and not altered or decorated in any way that causes a fire hazard.

REGULATION 12. HOST EMPLOYER (using contractors and sub-contractors)

Where one employer engages another employer, or self-employed persons (eg contractors or sub-contractors) to work within the first employer’s business, then the first employer must ensure that any visiting employees of the contractor (or the contractor himself if he is a sole trader) are provided with information on the risks to their health and safety by working for the first employer.

In simple terms it reinforces the requirement that an organisation is responsible for ensuring that all workers and visitors on their premises, or under their control or direction are kept safe and free from harm or ill health.

As you may have worked out by now, many regulations are not stand alone, but have cross over with other regulations.


2 men manual handling. management of health and safety at work regulations

When giving tasks to employees, their capabilities in regard to health and safety must be considered.

Employees must be given adequate health and safety training when:

> Inducted into a new job or role.

> On being exposed to new or increased risks.

> When introducing new procedures or technology.

Training must be repeated as required in order to stay fresh or keep up with changes, and take place during working or paid time.


Equipment, tools and materials must be used properly in accordance with manufacturer instructions and training given.

Employees also have obligations to report any short comings in the employer’s protection arrangements or serious and immediate dangers.


People employed on fixed term contracts and workers obtained from employment agencies (temporary workers) are to be provided with information on any special occupational qualifications or skills required in order to carry out their work safely, together with any health surveillance as required. This information is also to be provided to the employment agency from where the temporary workers have been obtained.


pregnant worker. management of health and safety at work regulations

Where the work could cause harm or illness to a new or expectant mother working on the premises (or risk to the baby), their must be an assessment of the risk.

Where the risk cannot be avoided, then the employer must alter the woman’s working arrangement or hours to avoid the risk, offer suitable alternative work, or suspend from work on full pay.

The woman must notify her employer in writing of her pregnancy, or that she has given birth within the last 6-months, or that she is breastfeeding.


female worker wearing PPE. management of health and safety at work regulations

Employers must protect young workers from harm at work due to lack of maturity, lack of experience and absence of awareness of dangers surrounding them.

The regulations surrounding young people go into a certain amount of depth and can be read in more detail HERE. (


These regulations refer to the defence of civil action taken against the employer and can be read in more detail HERE.

Regulation 21 refers to an employer avoiding prosecution by blaming a breach solely on an employee or adviser.

It’s a complicated area that often requires the input of a legal entity.

management of health and safety at work regulations. e-learning

And last but not least

We all have a role to play in effective health and safety, and for those actively involved in promoting safe working practices it can be a rewarding, interesting and varied role.

Please visit this site often where you will find a growing number of articles, resources, advice and opinion.

You can view more about the Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations here along with the rest of the essential workplace Six-Pack.

The full Management Regulations can be viewed at

Whether you are a seasoned health and safety professional, or just getting started, we value your opinions and input so please feel free to comment on any of the posts.