Skip to content

Health and safety advice – a beginner’s guide for businesses 


Competent person

Its important that you appoint a competent person to manage the health and safety requirements within your business

This can be yourself, an employee, or a consultant. They should have the skills, knowledge and experience to be able to recognise hazards in your business and help you put sensible controls in place to protect workers and others from harm.

For information about competent person, please see the advice on the Health and safety Executives website.

Write a Health and Safety Policy

Every business must have a written policy that details how health and safety is managed.

For guidance on how to write a policy, along with an example and template. Please click here to visit the Health and Safety Executives website.

Carry out a risk assessment

Every business must risk assess hazards that their employees or others may be exposed to.

Risk assessments do not need to be complex but should include these steps:

  • identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk.

For guidance on how to carry out a risk assessment, along with examples and templates, please click here to visit the Health and Safety Executive website.

First aid

Employers must make sure employees get immediate help if taken ill or injured at work.

The law applies to every workplace and to the self-employed.

You must have:

  • a suitably stocked first aid kit
  • an appointed person or people to take charge of first aid arrangements
  • information for all employees telling them about first aid arrangements.

For guidance on how to assess your businesses first aid needs please click here to visit the health and safety executive’s website.

Health and Safety Law Poster

If you employ anyone, you must either:

  • display the health and safety law poster where your workers can easily read it
  • provide each worker with the equivalent health and safety law leaflet.

The poster explains British health and safety laws and lists what workers and their employers should do.

You can add details of any employee safety representatives or health and safety contacts.

For free downloads of the law poster of employee leaflet please click here to visit the health and safety executive’s website

Workplace facilities

Employers must provide welfare facilities and a working environment that’s healthy and safe for everyone in the workplace, including those with disabilities.

You must have:

  • welfare facilities – the right number of toilets and washbasins, drinking water and having somewhere to rest and eat meals
  • a healthy working environment– a clean workplace with a reasonable working temperature, good ventilation, suitable lighting and the right amount of space and seating
  • a safe workplace – well-maintained equipment, with no obstructions in floors and traffic routes, and windows that can be easily opened and cleaned

For further details on welfare and toilet and washing facilities, please click here to visit the health and safety executives website

Reporting accidents and incidents

By law, you must report certain accidents and incidents that occur at a workplace.

Details of accidents and incidents that you must report and how to report them can be found here on the health and safety executives website.

If you have ten or more employees, you must have an accident record book. Accident record books can be purchased here from the health and safety executive or you can create your own recording system.

Keeping records of incidents helps you to identify patterns of accidents and injuries, so you can better assess and manage risk in your workplace.

Records can also be helpful when you are dealing with your insurance company.

Make sure you protect people’s personal details by storing records confidentially in a secure place.


If your business has employees, you will probably need employers’ liability insurance.

If an employee is injured or becomes ill as a result of the work they do for you, they can claim compensation from you. Employers’ liability insurance will help you to pay any compensation.

You can find more information about employers’ liability insurance on the GOV.UK website.

For details on how to get employers liability insurance please click here for the health and safety executives website.

Training for employees

Everyone who works for you needs to know how to work safely and without risk to their health. This includes contractors and self-employed people.

You must give your workers clear instructions and information, as well as adequate training.

Make sure you include employees with particular training needs, for example new recruits, people changing jobs or taking on extra responsibilities, young employees and health and safety representatives.

For guidance on what training and information you need please click here to visit the health and safety executives website.

More information

For topic specific safety guidance such as:

  • electrical safety
  • gas safety
  • manual handling
  • working at height
  • workplace safety and
  • chemical safety

Please click here to visit the health and safety executive’s website.

If you have any questions or queries, please contact us using our online query form.

Alternatively please email or call 01235 422403 – please leave a message with your name and number and we will call you back.