HSE’s regulatory approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI)

29 Apr 2024 12:05 PM

AI and HSE’s regulatory remit

HSE regulates AI in a way that aligns with our mission and priorities.

HSE’s role in regulating AI includes:

Health and safety law

Most health and safety legislation enforced by HSE arises from the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, which sets objectives to be achieved without prescribing how to achieve them. The goal-setting nature of this legislation means it is applicable regardless of the technology being used and so includes the use of AI in the workplace.  

Assess and manage risk

The central principle of health and safety law is that those who create risks are best placed to manage and control that risk in a sensible, proportionate, and pragmatic way. As benchmarks develop for the use of AI, we want to reach a point where AI risk is no longer novel and is managed in the same way as any other risk.

HSE expects a risk assessment to be undertaken for uses of AI which impact on health and safety and appropriate controls put in place to reduce risk so far as is reasonably practicable, including to address cyber security threats.

Regulatory principles

The UK government set out A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation (on GOV.UK) in a White Paper. This establishes cross-sectoral principles to guide how regulators approach common risks relating to AI, with regulators asked to interpret and apply these within their remits, on a context specific basis.

The principles of relevance to workplace health and safety are:

Understanding risks from AI in the workplace

AI is rapidly developing in capability and is a transformative technology. It can create and exacerbate health and safety risk but also has the potential to bring real benefits for health and safety.

HSE is experienced at helping Great Britain adapt safely to technological changes in the workplace and as with any new technology we will work to understand how it impacts on health and safety. We are a risk-based, proportionate regulator and in consultation with industry, routinely deal with innovation in the areas we regulate.

Developing HSE’s regulatory approach to AI

The focus of the work we’re doing to continue to develop our regulatory approach to AI includes:

Future work to develop our regulatory approach

HSE will continue our work to develop our regulatory approach to AI. We will work with our stakeholders as AI develops and, using our expertise, explore the challenges and opportunities it brings.