free small business advice & information

Article Index
Health and Safety
Your Responsibilities
Health and Safety Policy
Fire Precautions
Employee Welfare
Accidents and Emergencies
Help and Support

Health and Safety

1. Your Responsibilities

1.1 Most businesses are no longer required to register with the appropriate authority.

  • This includes most businesses that were previously required to register such as offices and shops.
  • You may still be required to register or require a licence to operate under other rules.If in doubt, check the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website (

1.2 You are responsible for the health and safety of everyone affected by your business.

  • This includes employees, anyone working in, or around, or visiting your premises and anyone affected by products and services which you design, produce or supply.
  • You must have a health and safety policy (see 2). If you have five or more employees, the policy must be in writing.
  • You must provide appropriate information, instruction and training (see 3).
  • Under recent changes, employees must now be able to prove you were negligent before they can pursue a claim against you if they have a work-place accident.

1.3 You must carry out a suitable risk assessment.

  • A thorough risk assessment is the 
most effective way of improving health and safety.

1.4 You must make suitable arrangements for employee welfare (see 6).

1.5 You must have employers’ liability insurance, unless all your employees, without exception, are your close relatives.

Special Cases

Your health and safety and fire arrangements must take into account any particular difficulties faced by people with disabilities (employees or visitors).

Special regulations cover the employment of young people (below 18 years of age).

Extra precautions need to be taken to avoid exposing pregnant women and new mothers to situations which could harm either the woman or child.

  • For example, heavy lifting or exposure to harmful substances.

If your business provides food (either to employees or to the public), you will need to register with the Environmental Health Department.

Businesses with particular dangers face extra regulation, eg the construction industry as well as businesses involved with chemical processing, mining, explosives and petroleum products.

BHP Infosolutions