30th Aug, 2019 Read time 1 minute

How the Working Time Regulations Act links to health and safety

The Working Time Regulations Directive from the EU has influenced how many hours employees can work. The directives were developed in 1993 to try and introduce a common practice around the hours that people work and how they vary in terms of industry and working times.

Current legislation states that:

  • An employee can’t work more than 48 hours a week on average
  • An employee is entitled to a minimum of 11 hours consecutive rest over a 24 hour period
  • An employee is entitled to a minimum of 24 hours rest over a 7 day period including the 11 hours daily rest


With the material impact the UK’s departure from the EU will have on legislation unclear employers should be ready to be adaptive to any changes in policy and best practice.

How do the Working Time Regulations Link to Health and Safety?

Whilst the working time directive is used as a point of reference in the wider world of employment law there are some practical implications employers could face if they do not enforce it correctly.

  • They may face legal action from employees and other parties
  • Lack of proper rest could lead to dangerous fatigue in employees
  • Fatigue in those operating machinery could lead to a fatal accident
  • Can lead to the development of stress-related illnesses in your staff
  • Can lead to workers not abiding by basic health and safety procedures


Steps to make sure your employees are complying with work time regulations

As an employer depending on the industry it can be difficult to work out exactly how many hours your employees are working. To provide guidance on this make sure you have the number of weekly hours and other relevant information in the employment contract.

Additionally, if your workplace employs night workers make sure you carry out the correct health assessments for them and ensure your employees do not suffer from fatigue. This is critical for both mental and physical wellbeing.

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