Information for New Businesses
Small businesses are becoming more and more significant in today's society. It is essential that as a small business owner you have a good understanding of both the legislation relating to health and safety and the importance of ensuring the health, safety and welfare of employees and any other person who may be affected by work activities.
In a number of situations small businesses are working in high-risk areas from which employees, contractors and members of the public require to be protected.
It is understood that for small businesses time and finances are of the essence. As a result this comprehensive guide has been prepared to allow the basic requirements and expectations of health and safety to be put into practice.
Why is health and safety important?
Every year hundreds of people are killed with several hundred thousand suffering from injuries and illness through work related activities.
In addition to the personal loss and suffering that can incur there are huge monetary losses through time off work and material damage much of which is not covered by insurance.
Consequently by ensuring that the working environment you provide is safe and suitable for the work activity intended you can go some way to reducing these losses as well as providing an environment which is safer and more enjoyable to work in.
Does health and safety legislation apply to my business?
In many cases, particularly small businesses, there is a tendency for employers to either:
- Believe that much of the legislation related to health and safety does not apply to their business and/or
- Be unaware of the legislation that does apply to their business.
Health and safety law not only applies to businesses that have employees but to those who are self-employed.
In terms of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, self-employed people are seen as both employers and employees, placing the same responsibilities on all concerned. However, there are areas where exemptions are given to businesses with few employees and these will be highlighted throughout this document.
How do I find out what I need to do?
The legislation section features the main pieces of legislation that may relate to your business. It guides you through the implementation of the requirements that they place on your business.
However, it must be borne in mind that the local Environmental Health Service is always available to give advice on any health and safety matters. The Service also includes health and safety; food safety and standards; housing and public health.