to health and safety
Health and safety in small businesses
What you should know about – where to get more information
It’s your business
but we can help you look after it!
Getting hurt at work or becoming ill through work is not a pleasant subject to think about. The reality is that over 200 people a year lose their lives at work in Britain. In addition, around 150 000 non-fatal injuries are reported each year, and an estimated 2 million suffer from ill health caused or made worse by work. The mistake is to believe that these things happen in highly unusual or exceptional circumstances that never occur in your workplace. This is not the case. Some basic thinking and acting beforehand could usually have prevented these things from happening. Implementing health and safety measures doesn’t have to be expensive, time consuming or complicated. In fact, safer and more efﬁcient working practices can often save money but, more importantly, they can help to save lives. This booklet shows you the kind of things which cause the more common accidents and harm to people’s health. It lets you see what applies to your work activities, and tells you how you can get more help and information. This is especially important if you are in charge of work activities, eg you are an employer, because you have legal responsibilities.
introduction | 1
Ten questions and answers for everyone
What is health and safety all about?
Preventing people from being harmed by work or becoming ill by taking the right precautions - and providing a satisfactory working environment.
What do inspectors actually do?
They visit workplaces to check that people are sticking to the rules. They investigate some accidents and complaints but mainly they help you to understand what you need to do. They enforce only when something is seriously wrong.
Do I need to have employers’ liability compulsory insurance? It’s the law if you employ anyone - and you should display the certiﬁcate. See the free leaﬂet, Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance Act 1969. A guide for employers HSE40(rev1), available from HSE Books on 01787 881165 or from www.hsebooks.co.uk.
Why are there health and safety laws?
Because health and safety at work is so important, there are rules which require all of us not to put ourselves or others in danger. The law is also there to protect the public from workplace dangers.
Do I have to contact an inspector to get information?
No. HSE operates a conﬁdential telephone information service called Infoline which is open Monday-Friday between 8 am and 6 pm. You can contact Infoline by telephone 0845 345 0055 or fax 0845 408 9566, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can write to HSE Information Services, Caerphilly Business Park, Caerphilly CF83 3GG.
Do I need to display any posters?
Yes, the health and safety law poster (ISBN 0 7176 2493 5) if you employ anyone. Alternatively you can provide your employees with individual copies of the same information in a leaﬂet called Health and safety law: What you should know (available in packs of 25 ISBN 0 7176 1702 5). The poster and leaﬂets are available from HSE Books.
Do health and safety laws apply to me?
Yes. To all businesses, however small; also to the selfemployed and to employees.
Who enforces health and safety law?
Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your local authority. For example: ● HSE at factories, farms and building sites; ● local authorities in ofﬁces, shops, hotels and catering, and leisure activities.
Do I need to register my business?
It’s likely you will if you employ anyone - contact Infoline.
Do I have to report injuries at work?
Yes, and other incidents. For information on which ones and who should report them, see page 20.
It’s your business – so look after it!
2 | introduction
How to use this booklet– how each section works
List of topics
Managing health and safety Slips,...