Health and safety law in Europe


If you run a business anywhere in Europe, you must comply with health and safety rules and regulations. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) is the central provider for health and safety guidance and information in Europe. 


  • works with governments, employers and workers
  • identifies current and future risks
  • shares information, good practice and advice that can improve working life

Laws for health and safety measures are the same throughout Europe, but rules have to be altered to fit into the national law of member states. This means that health and safety law can differ between European Union (EU) nations. It is important to find out the current laws and guidance for any EU country in which you work. 

European health and safety requirements

European directives cover a wide range of business health and safety requirements. In the EU, the Health and Safety Framework Directive is the key piece of legislation. This Directive ensures a higher degree of protection for employees at work by using preventative measures that protect against accidents and work-related diseases. Under the Directive, employers are obliged to:

  • ensure free health and safety for workers in every part of their work
  • evaluate occupational risks specific to job type and provide adequate protective and preventative services
  • keep accident records and reports
  • take necessary measures for first aid, fire-fighting, evacuation of workers, and action required in serious and dangerous events
  • inform, consult and discuss health and safety at work with employees
  • provide adequate health and safety training for every employee throughout their employment

The Directive also requires workers to:

  • use machinery, other means of production, personal protective equipment and safety devices correctly
  • give warning of any serious or dangerous situation at work and to report any poor protection arrangements
  • work with employers to ensure health and safety requirements are followed and that the working environment is safe

More information

EU-OSHA provide information on health and safety law in Europe, including: