If you have started up a new business or taken over the management or ownership of an existing business then you need to consider the following:
- Registration of the business - if you employ any person.
- What laws apply to your business?
- What training do you or your employees need?
- What records or documents must you have?
- Do you have employers' liability compulsory insurance?
Employer's liability compulsory insurance
If you employ anyone then you must display an employer's liability certificate of insurance.
Some of the health and safety laws that may apply to your business are:
- Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
- Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended)
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
- Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPE)
- Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
- Noise at Work Regulations 1989
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)
- Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR)
- Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981
- Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (as amended)
- Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996
- Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977
Health and safety laws apply to small and large businesses, to the self-employed and to employees. It is your responsibility to find out which laws apply to your business.
Records and documents
Records or documents that you may be required to have are:
- A health and safety policy statement - this must be written if you employ five or more people.
- A risk assessment - you must record significant findings if you employ five or more people.
- The health and safety law poster must be displayed if you employ anyone. Alternatively you can give each employee a leaflet called 'Health and Safety Law: What you should know'.
- An accident book.
- Fire certificate.
- Gas/electric/PAT test records or certificates.
- Lifting equipment, e.g. lifts and fork lift trucks, inspection records.
- Training certificates.
It is your responsibility to make sure you have the correct and up-to-date records and documentation.
Since 6 April 2009, most new businesses no longer need to register with HSE or local authorities.
However, if you work with hazardous substances, such as asbestos or explosives, or in a hazardous industry, such as construction or diving, you may need to apply for a licence; or notify HSE or your local authority.
If in doubt, contact the Food and Safety team or call HSE’s Infoline on 0845 345 0055 for advice.