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What do you need to know about the new Health and Safety Law Poster?

On 6 April 2009, HSE published the latest version of the approved Health and Safety Law Poster.

Health and Safety 2009 and 1999 Law Posters

Q1: What is the law poster / the law leaflet?

Employers have a legal duty under the Health and Safety information for Employees Regulations (HSIER) to display the approved poster in a prominent position in each workplace or to provide each worker a copy of the approved leaflet outlining British health and safety law.

The 2009 poster replaces the version which was published in April 1999. The 2009 leaflet is now in a more convenient format as a pocket card and replaces the leaflet published in April 1999.

The 1999 versions of the approved poster and leaflet are no longer available for sale (but see Q5).

Q2: Why was the law poster changed?

Research showed that the 1999 versions of the law poster and law leaflet were visually unappealing and rarely read. The latest versions have been completely re-designed to be more readable and engaging. The poster and pocket card are available in a range of formats as part of our commitment to make health and safety information more accessible.

The 2009 poster and pocket card also reflect changes in the law to reduce the administrative cost to employers of having to provide additional written information on the poster or with the pocket card and having to keep this information up or date. Instead, workers are advised to phone the HSE info line to be put in touch with the health and safety enforcing authority for their workplace or with HSE for employment medical advice.

Q3: What has changed?

The 2009 poster and pocket card set out in simple terms, using numbered lists of basic points, what employers and workers must do, as well as showing what to do if there is a problem.

Their appearance has been completely re-designed to make them more readable and colourful.

Q4: Is it necessary to provide additional information with the new poster?

Unlike the 1999 poster and leaflet, the 2009 poster and card do not require the employer to provide further information in writing, either on the poster, or with the pocket card, giving workers the name and address of the enforcing authority and the address of the office of HSE's Employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS), for the premises. Instead workers are advised to phone the HSE info line to be put in touch with these services.

The 2009 poster does still have optional boxes where details of any worker health and safety representatives and other health and safety contacts can be added. It is not a legal requirement to include this information, but it may be helpful to workers.

Q5: Does the 1999 poster have to be replaced?

To help avoid an unnecessary burden on businesses, the HSE Board set a five-year transition period for replacing the 1999 poster and leaflet.

The 2009 poster or pocket cards must replace these no later than 5 April 2014.

(Replacement dates for Northern Ireland versions of the poster and pocket card are a little later).

It is important to note that employers will still be complying with the law if they continue to display the 1999 poster after 6 April 2009. However where employers do keep the old poster, there will be a continuing duty, in the period up to April 2014, to keep the additional written information up to date.

The additional information that employers have to provide in writing, either by inserting this in the appropriate boxes on the 1999 poster or by giving it to workers with the 1999 leaflet is:

These addresses can be obtained by phoning HSE's Info line.

Q6: How can employers check they have a genuine 2009 poster?

Each copy of the 2009 poster incorporates a unique serially numbered hologram in the bottom right corner. They security hologram is to help prevent miss-selling.

Copies of the 2009 poster purchased direct from HSE Books will be genuine. If an employer is in doubt about a poster purchased through another source, he/she should contact HSE at busmansec@hse.gsi.gov.uk