General responsibilities

Everyone on a construction site is legally and morally responsible for health and safety.

By knowing what is needed, you will be able to understand what you and your employer’s legal duties are for protecting the health and safety of you and other people while at work.

This chapter will help you understand the following.

  • What the law requires from everyone.
  • Employers must provide a safe place of work.
  • Safe systems of work must be planned for, put in place and followed.
  • People at work must be trained, competent and involved in protecting their own and other people’s health and safety.
  • Communication has to be open, effective and honest so everyone knows what is expected of them.
  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can and will enforce the law in respect of health and safety.


A combination of a person’s training, knowledge, experience and skills and their ability to apply these to carry out a task safely. Other factors (such as attitude and physical ability) can also affect competence.