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What are the legal business health and safety requirements for my business?

When you're just starting out, knowing what business health and safety requirements you need to comply with can get a bit confusing. This article talks you through the steps you need to take.

You will learn

  • The elements of a health and safety policy
  • How to comply with the law
  • Where to go for next steps

If you are running a small businesses, the thought of business health and safety requirements may be a bit daunting, but do not be put off. It is not as complicated as you think. Workplace protection laws are there to help, not hinder your business.

For smaller businesses there are a series of tasks to follow to comply with workplace protection laws:

PLAN – Plan how you are going to manage the Health and Safety aspects of your business and plan how you are going to make it happen.

DO – Control your risks and prioritise how you are going to deal with them. Make sure that you have consulted your employees on the risks and provided suitable and sufficient training.

CHECK - Measure how you are performing.

ACT – Learn from your experiences.

There are some basic processes that must be carried out in order for you to comply with the law:

Write your company Health and Safety Policy - there are three elements of your policy:

  • The Statement of Intent – How you are intending to keep everyone safe at work
  • Organisation – Who’s who and what responsibilities they have within the organisation
  • Arrangements – What arrangements have you put in place for areas such as risk assessments, COSHH, equipment, training, first aid, fire safety, etc. for your business

Address what risks are involved within the daily process of your business

Identifying the hazards and risks associated with the tasks. Who is at risk and what control measures are put in place as a safety measure. The law does not expect you to remove all of the risks, but it does expect you to protect people by putting these control measures in place.

Consult with your employees

As a small business, you may want to consult with your staff directly. Your employees have valuable contributions to make, as they are the ones who are usually dealing with the risks.

Provide training and information

Employees must have sufficient training and information to carry out their duties in a safe manner, these training records must be kept and reviewed at regular intervals.

Provide workplace facilities

You must provide the necessary welfare facilities for your employees, these include toilets, hand basins with soap and towels provided, fresh drinking water, a place to sit and eat and an area to change if necessary. As well as these basics, there are further issues to consider such as, ventilation, lighting, temperature, space and a clean work area.

First aid/accidents

If an accident should occur it is your responsibility to attend to the needs of your employees, the minimum requirement is to have a well stocked first aid kit, and an  appointed person with the training to deal with these arrangements and the information provided on the subject to employees.

The health and safety law poster

This must be displayed where all staff have access to view it. Alternatively, pocket cards can be given out to employees.

Get your business insured

Keep this insurance up to date and make sure that any sub-contractors you use have their own insurance, suitable for the activity they are carrying out for you.

Keep up to date

Keep your documents and knowledge up to date.

If you follow these basics steps you can be confident that as a small business you are taking the correct steps to keeping on the right side of health and safety law.

Further information can be found at

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Written by:

Liz Preston

Health and safety expert

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