Advice for business
All business owners, including self-employed persons, have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all their staff, and to not expose others who are not in their employment to risks associated with their business, such as customers.
You may need guidance and advice to help you comply with health and safety legislation and to protect your staff and members of the public. There is range of specialist advice and guidance available to all business owners.
Where to get advice
The health and safety team at Chesterfield Borough Council provides advice for the businesses we enforce. You can call us on 01246 345 345.
You can also get free and impartial advice from D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. To access information, please call 0333 006 9178.
Local Enterprise Partnerships are locally owned partnerships between local authorities and businesses. Chesterfield Borough Council is a member of the D2N2 Local Economic Partnership Better Business Regulation partnership.
Chesterfield Borough Council also supports Sheffield City Region LEP as the M1 commerce park grows in its development.
In a move to improve the delivery of regulation as it impacts on local businesses and reduce the cost of compliance, the Better Business Regulation (BBR) programme has been designed to assist.
Key objectives of the programme are to develop a new relationship between businesses and regulatory services through:
- seeking to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses
- promotion of two-way communication between businesses and regulatory services
- improving the business perception of regulators
- supporting regulators to find the right balance between encouragement, education and enforcement
- developing a joint offer of support from regulatory services to businesses
- building trust between regulators and businesses
- advising government how to do things better for both businesses and regulators
Supported by the D2N2 LEP, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, the BBR initiative is providing access to business advice in the following legislative areas:
- animal welfare
- environmental health
- fire safety
- food safety
- health and safety
- trading standards
- weights and measures
Health and safety made simple
Health and Safety Made Simple is a complete set of simple, relevant advice and tools for SMEs from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It is aimed at office-based activities and the service, retail and beauty sectors.
Good health and safety is not only positive for your staff, but it may also benefit your business. Good health and safety can help:
- reduce time lost through ill health
- prevent accidents
- prevent lost time and production
- prevent compensation costs
- prevent damaged equipment
- maintain a good reputation
By law, if you employ five or more staff, you must have a written statement of your health and safety policy. This should be specific to your own workplace and should reflect the activities that are carried out in the business.
What is a health and safety policy?
The policy details the arrangements for how you manage health and safety in the workplace. This includes planning, the layout of the organisation, who is responsible and for what, control, monitoring and review of preventative and protective measures.
Staff and others who may have to work at the business, such as contractors or temporary staff, should all be made aware of the policy and its contents and what responsibilities they have in line with it.
Assessing risks in your business
You have a duty to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of your employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work, and of persons not in your employment arising out of or in connection with the business.
- Walk around your workplace and look at what is likely or probable to do harm.
- Involve your employees, as they may know a particular task or piece of equipment that could cause harm and provide you with suggestions to prevent problems occurring.
- If you have five or more staff, you must document the risk assessments and the procedures and controls in place to deal with the risks identified.
Risks you could look at might include:
- slips and trips
- musculoskeletal disorders (manual handling, display screen equipment)
- falls from height
- electrical safety
- gas safety
- workplace transport
- workplace temperature
- new and expectant mothers
- young people
This list is not exhaustive. Further information can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive.
Read some example risk assessments to see what you could do in your business.
Health and safety law poster
A health and safety law poster must be displayed on all business premises.
You can either:
- display the HSE approved poster: Health and Safety Law Poster or
- provide each of your staff with Health and Safety Law: What you need to know
You have a duty to consult with your employees on health and safety matters at work. This is very important in creating and maintaining a safe and healthy working environment. Motivate your staff and make them aware of health and safety issues.
You should also consult with any contractors entering your premises to ensure they know of your procedures and arrangements for health and safety in your workplace.
For more information, please see the HSE website on involving your staff: Do your bit!
There is also an HSE leaflet on how to consult with employees on health and safety.
Training, information and instruction
Ensure that staff are provided with the appropriate training, information and instruction to carry out their duties safely.
For more information on training, please see the HSE leaflet: Health and safety training.
You can also visit the HSE website.
If you employ anyone (however short the period) you must, "so far as is reasonably practicable," provide adequate and appropriate welfare facilities for them while they are at work.
Welfare facilities are generally toilets, hand wash basins, rest and changing areas and somewhere clean to eat and drink during breaks.
For more information, please see the HSE leaflet: Welfare at work.
Should an employee be taken ill at work, you are required to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure they receive immediate attention. This applies to all work places and not just those with five or more staff.
For more information, please see the HSE leaflet: First aid at work.
Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences (RIDDOR)
By law, work-related deaths, serious injuries, cases of diagnosed industrial disease and certain dangerous occurrences must be reported by you or other people in control of work premises. The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance on your duties to report and on what to report.
There are also ways to make a report that you should use, unless there has been a fatality or major injury, then the incident control centre can be contacted on 0345 300 9923. It is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm, see more on the RIDDOR website.