Artificial Intelligence (AI) can create and exacerbate health and safety risks, but also has the potential to bring real benefits for health and safety. Following publication of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) approach to AI (which can be found here), we summarise the take home points for businesses. 

The HSE is the workplace regulator for Great Britain. As such the following three principles in the UK regulatory framework for AI (see our article here) are seen as key by the HSE:

  1. Safety, security and robustness.
  2. Appropriate transparency and explainability.
  3. Accountability and governance.

The key points following the HSE's published approach to AI are:

  1. The HSE’s role in regulating AI includes its use in the design, manufacture and supply of workplace machinery, equipment and products. This is due to the HSE’s role as a Market Surveillance Authority (under the Product Safety regulatory framework). AI will also impact the HSE’s role to protect people and places, including in relation to building safety, chemicals and pesticide regulation.
  2. The HSE recognises that the goal setting nature of existing legislation means the law will be applicable regardless of the technology being used, so includes the use of AI in the workplace.
  3. As benchmarks develop for the use of AI, the HSE wants to reach a point where AI risk is no longer novel and is managed in the same way as any other risk.
  4. The HSE expects a risk assessment to be undertaken for the uses of AI that impact on health and safety. Appropriate controls should be put in place to reduce risk so far as is reasonably practicable, including to address cyber security threats.

Further updates from the HSE regarding AI can be expected, including:

  • "co-ordinating work on AI, sharing knowledge and identifying key issues through an internal AI common interest group, bringing together colleagues from across HSE
  • working with government departments to shape the approach to AI regulation
  • supporting the standards making process, to establish benchmarks for AI interaction with machinery and functional safety by engaging with international standards organisations (BSI, IEC and ISO)
  • establishing relationships with industry and academic stakeholders, to share knowledge and learning on AI use cases and the impact on health and safety
  • setting up and trialling of an Industrial Safetytech Regulatory Sandbox (on to explore practical barriers to adoption of Industrial Safetytech in construction and how to break them down"

For questions about health and safety, contact our Health and Safety law experts Charlotte Whitaker and Jonathan Nicoll.

If you have any questions or would otherwise like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Tom Whittaker, Liz Smith, Lucy Pegler, or another member of our Technology Team. For the latest updates on AI law, regulation, and governance, see our AI blog at: AI: Burges Salmon blog (