Here you will find information regarding the health and safety aspects of starting a new business.
If you have just started your business, you may benefit from knowing the main legal requirements relating to health and safety.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the main duties of employers are to:
- provide equipment and ways of working that are safe and without risks to health
- ensure the safe handling, storage, transport and use of items and substances
- provide adequate information, instruction, training and supervision
- maintain the workplace in a safe condition, including means of access
- provide a work environment that is safe and provide adequate welfare facilities
- ensure non-employees are not at risk
- take reasonable care of themselves and others who could be affected by their actions
- co-operate with their employer on matters of health and safety
Self-employed persons have duties to:
- ensure their own health and safety
- ensure the safety of non-employees who may be put at risk
The duties above are qualified by the phrase 'so far as is reasonably practicable'. This means the cost and effort of doing something should be balanced against the risk. The greater the risk posed by a work activity, the greater the control measures will need to be.
This process is fundamental to effective health and safety performance.
Management of health & safety
Effective management of health and safety will reduce the risk of accidents and occupational ill health.
Good safety management will involve:
Health and Safety policy statements are required when more than five people are employed. They should include:
- an overview of policy
- an explanation of directors, managers and employees’ responsibilities
- details of the arrangements for securing a safe and healthy workplace
Training should be given whenever necessary and may range from general inductions to more complex issues.
An initial training checklist may include the following:
- company safety set up/reporting structure
- fire and evacuation procedures
- first aid provision and location
- safety procedures for equipment/machines, processes, activities, hazardous locations
- general safety rules, housekeeping etc.
- accident/ill health/defect reporting
- use of personal protective equipment/safety equipment
This list should not be seen as exhaustive/definitive.
This is required for all work activities and involves:
- identifying hazards
- evaluating risks
- implementing and maintaining control measures
- recording the findings of the risk assessment (only if you employ five or more persons)
- monitoring and reviewing assessments
A competent person(s) must
be appointed to help carry out your health and safety responsibilities. They should have the necessary training, experience, knowledge and other appropriate qualities.
- Make sure you carry out fire risk assessments and think about what fire precautions are required.
- You need to provide adequate and appropriate first aid equipment, facilities and personnel and to inform employees of your arrangements.
- Make sure all staff know what to do when an accident happens or someone is ill.
- Electrical systems and portable appliances must be kept in a safe condition.
- Risks from substances hazardous to health must be assessed (under the COSHH Regulations 2002) and any necessary control measures put in place and maintained.
- Manual handling activities will need to be assessed and any risks reduced as far as possible.
- Where you have 'users' of display screen equipment, an assessment of their workstations must be carried out.
- Selection, use and maintenance of personal protective equipment must ensure safety. Employees must be trained to use them.
- Work equipment must be safe and maintained adequately. Contact with dangerous parts must be prevented. Training and instruction must be carried out.
- Workplaces must be suitably ventilated, heated and lit. They should be clean and not overcrowded. A sufficient number of washing facilities and sanitary items must be provided, as should somewhere to rest and eat meals.
- Accommodation for non-work clothing and a reasonable supply of good drinking water are also required.
The Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 requires employers to take out and maintain an insurance policy to cover the cost of any accidents that may happen because of your work activities. A current copy of the certificate should be displayed.
Health and safety information
Health and safety law information (poster or leaflets) must be provided and conspicuously displayed. The enforcing authority's address should be written in the appropriate space on the poster.
Records that may need to be maintained or kept include:
- accident book (if you have more than 10 employees)
- accident forms (F2508)
- health and safety policy statement
- general risk assessments
- manual handling
- display screen equipment
- personal protective equipment
- statutory inspection certificates
- lifting plant and equipment
- equipment maintenance
- electrical system and appliances
For more detailed information of the topics listed above please see the following webpages: