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Safety advice for businesses

If you are an employer, you may need help in identifying and complying with your obligations under health and safety law.

You will need to make sure you have thought about the health and safety risks not only to your employees but also to any contractors or members of the public who visit your business.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) offers information to help businesses in the start-up process, including:

Safety at work

Health and safety prevents people from being harmed by taking the right precautions and providing a safe working environment. As health and safety at work is so important, there are rules which require all of us not to put ourselves or others in danger. The law is also there to protect the public from workplace dangers. These laws apply to all firms, however small, to employees and to the self-employed.

Every employer has a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to take reasonable steps to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people working for them. They are also responsible for taking steps to protect the health, safety and welfare of people who are affected by their business but do not work for them (e.g. a customer in a shop).

  • Health and safety policy - if you employ 5 or more people you must prepare a written statement of your health and safety policy, describing the organisation and arrangements you have in place for carrying out the policy.
  • Risk assessment - all employers must manage the health and safety risks in their workplace. This includes thinking about what could cause harm and deciding whether or not they are doing enough to prevent that harm. This is known as a risk assessment. HSE has produced guidance for small businesses for writing risk assessments. This includes risk assessment templates and example risk assessments for different types of businesses.
  • Employer's liability insurance - most employers must take out and maintain approved insurance policies against liability for injuries or diseases to their employees caused by their work.  A copy of your current employer's liability insurance certificate must be displayed at each property.
  • Health and safety information for employees - employers are required to give information to employees by means of displaying a HSE-approved law poster or distributing an equivalent leaflet to employees.