Health and safety for public and employees

Businesses have a legal obligation to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees, members of the public or anyone else who is affected by their work activity. 

Employees have the right to work in an environment where the risks to their health and safety are controlled. Employers must do whatever is reasonably expected to achieve this by consulting with employees, or a representative, to discuss health and safety concerns and ensure that all employees have received training on how to do the job safely.

Employee responsibilities

Employees have a legal duty to take responsibility for their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of anyone who is affected by their work actions.

Employees must:

  • follow the training and instructions provided by their employer in relation to health and safety
  • co-operate with others
  • not interfere with or misuse anything the employer has provided for health, safety or welfare.

Members of the public must not intentionally interfere with or misuse anything that has been provided in the interests of health, safety and welfare.

Report a problem

If you have a work-related Health and Safety concern please contact us.


A worker is entitled to a 20-minute uninterrupted break when working more than 6 hours.

The break should be taken during working time and not at the start or end of the working day.

Young workers are entitled to a 30-minute break if they are required to work more than four and a half hours.

Generally, a worker is entitled to a rest period of 11 consecutive hours in each 24-hour period and is entitled to one day off a week. There are exemptions to this.

Young workers are entitled to 12 uninterrupted hours of rest in each 24-hour period and 2 days off a week.

If you need further advice regarding rest breaks or time off you can contact ACAS.

Employers have a legal obligation to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature within the workplace.

Employers should carry out a risk assessment to determine what the reasonable temperature should be based on the nature of the workplace and implement controls accordingly.

The Approved Code of Practice suggests that the minimum temperature should be 16C or 13C if the work requires rigorous physical effort.

There is currently no guidance on maximum working temperatures.

If required, employers should provide suitable personal protective equipment for their employees.

Employers cannot require employees to pay for any personal protective equipment which is only used at work.

For information on preventing accidents within your home visit The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

For advice about the health and safety of your privately rented home visit advice for private sector tenants

Trading Standards provide advice on the safety of a product you have purchased.

If you have any cooling towers or evaporative condensers you have a legal duty to notify the Licensing Team.

Last updated 01 November 2023