Small Businesses and Health and Safety

I’m discovering that many small businesses, whilst operating safely, are not fully aware of their legal obligations regarding health and safety.

With some many laws and regulations, it can be quite daunting. However, you will be pleased to hear that it can be relatively straightforward. Particularly if you are a low risk business or you have competent advice. So here is a quick guide.


All Businesses

Regardless of size, all businesses who employ people must:

  1. Display the HSE’s Health and Safety Law Poster

    Or provide all employees with the Health and Safety Law Leaflet.

  1. Appoint a competent person to manage health and safety.

    Someone who has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage your health and safety duties. In a low risk business this can be someone internal. In a higher risk / more complex business, you should consider external support.


Small Businesses 

Whilst all businesses should have a health and safety policy, you do not have to write it down if you have fewer than five people.

If your business has 5 or more employees, then you must document the following:

  1. A Health & Safety Policy

    This does not need to be complicated, but needs to be realistic

  2. Assess and control risks

    Identify things or activities that have potential to cause harm and decide whether you have reasonable controls in place to prevent that harm.

  1. Communicate with your employees

    This does need to be complicated, but should:

  • Include health and safety in relation to the work they do
  • Include the risks and how they are controlled
  • Be a two way process, allowing your team to raise concerns and help influence decisions
  1. Provide relevant training and information

    The level of training needs to proportionate to the level of risk. If the risk is low, simple information or instruction may be sufficient

  1. Provide a safe working environment

    This includes:

  • Welfare facilities e.g. drinking water, toilets, washing facilities and somewhere to rest and to eat meals
  • Maintaining a healthy environment e.g. reasonable working temperature, sufficient ventilation and lighting
  • Maintaining a safe environment e.g. properly maintained premises, clean and tidy working areas
  1. Make arrangements for First Aid

    You should have a first aid kit as a minimum, appoint someone to be responsible for first aid and then give employees the relevant information.

  1. Review the above on a regular basis

    This could be annually unless something significant changes e.g. a change in process or location or senior management.


The above can be quite daunting and time consuming to put into place or even just to review.

If you would like support with your health and safety compliance, or just some initial free advice, I would be delighted to talk to you.

Please contact Andy on: or call me on 07977 178193


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