Health and safety is about preventing people from being harmed at work or becoming ill through work. Health and safety law applies to all businesses however small. It covers employees, full or part-time, temporary or permanent, the self-employed, young people doing work experience, apprentices, charity workers, mobile workers and homeworkers.
Every employer has a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure, as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of his employees whilst at work and other persons who may be affected by their work activities are not exposed to risk to their health and safety.
- Health and Safety Policy - if you employ five or more people you are required to prepare a written statement of your Health and Safety Policy, describing the organisation and arrangements you have in place for carrying out the policy;
- Employer's Liability Insurance - 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 premises; and
- Health and Safety Information for Employees - employers are required to give information to employees by means of displaying a poster or distributing a leaflet to employees.
Managing health and safety
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to make adequate arrangements for managing health and safety in their business.
What must you do
- arrange for one or more "competent persons" to help you to meet your duties under health and safety law;
- appoint an employee, yourself or an outside consultant, provided that the person appointed is competent.
- carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments of the risks to employees, the self employed and persons affected by your undertaking, which may include members of the public and other persons employees;
- provide information, instruction, training and supervision for employees to ensure risks are controlled so far as reasonably practicable.
For detailed information refer to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
You will need to ensure that 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) provides information to assist businesses in the start-up process, including:
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescuse Service Business Safety Website
For specific information for business operators click here.