Legal Article - Health & Safety

Duties Owed to Non-Employees

Section 3 of the Act places general duties on all employers and the self-employed to conduct their undertakings (their work activities) in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons other than themselves or their employees (i.e. non-employees, members of the public and even trespassers) are not exposed to risks to their health or safety.

For section 3 to apply there must be a duty-holder (either an employer or a self-employed person) and there must be a risk to the health or safety of a person who is not the employee of the duty holder or the self-employed duty holder themselves, and that risk must arise from the conduct of the duty holder's undertaking.

An 'undertaking' means 'enterprise' or 'business'. Whether a particular activity is part of the conduct of the undertaking is determined by the facts of each case. Although not decisive in every case, whether the duty-holder can exercise control over both the conditions of work and where the activity takes place is very important.


Other regulatory provisions that place duties on employers in respect of non-employees include:

•    Regulation 3 under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999; (a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and the risk to non-employees;)

•    Regulation 3 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended)

•    Regulation 4 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999.


Author: Ernie Taylor

Published: 19 Sep 2016

Edited: 19 Sep 2016

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