New businesses health and safety
This page helps people looking for information about starting-up a business.
Businesses starting up (Health and Safety Executive website) gives online advice, tools and a free, confidential helpline to help save you time and effort getting started.
Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 the main duties of employers are to:
- Provide equipment and systems of work that are safe and without risks to health.
- Ensure the safe handling, storage, transport and use of articles and substances.
- Provide adequate information, instruction, training and supervision.
- Maintain the workplace in a safe condition, including means of access and egress.
- Provide a work environment that is safe and provide adequate welfare facilities.
- Ensure non-employees are not put 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 that 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 of risk assessment and control is fundamental to effective health and safety performance.
For the Health and Safety Executive's advice for small businesses see Looking after your business (HSE website).
For general business advice including a section on setting up your business see the Business Link website.
Last updated : 09/08/2010