Last reviewed 22 February 2019

When setting up a new business, or managing a small one, it can be easy to overlook the health and safety basics. To ensure you’re not caught off guard, follow these top 10 tips.

  1. Write a H&S policy (or statement of intent)

    If you have five or more staff you need to produce a policy statement and the policy should outline who the responsible person is, the arrangements for securing health and safety of workers.

    The duties of managers and supervisors and their responsibilities and that staff have received adequate information, instruction, training and supervision, along with completion of suitable and sufficient risk assessments for all activities undertaken at work.

  2. Have you completed a fire risk assessment?

    Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO 2005) it is a requirement for businesses and commercial premises to complete fire risk assessments of the area of buildings they occupy and ensure suitable means of detection, firefighting equipment and alarms are installed.

  3. Are there trained fire marshals or wardens on site?

    To further support the fire risk assessment a number of trained staff should be responsible to evacuate staff and visitors in the event of an emergency (which may not just be a fire).

  4. Have you completed a first aid needs risk assessment?

    The first needs assessment demonstrates to the HSE or the local authority (LA) inspector that a company has considered their first aid and decided what requirements are required.

  5. When was the fixed wiring inspected?

    It is a legal requirement for commercial premises to have their fixed wiring installation inspected and tested periodically by a competent and qualified electrician (usually accredited and working to the BS 7671).

  6. Do you have any gas appliances?

    If you have any gas appliances such as cookers or boilers you must have them checked at least annually be a Gas Safe Contractor.

  7. Are there any small electrical items that are in use?

    Employers need to ensure that all electrical equipment used at work is safe for staff to operate and one way to check the safety is to complete portable appliance testing, a local electrician will simply check equipment and label to confirm it is safe and provide a review date for re-inspection.

  8. Do users complete a display screen equipment risk assessment?

    If your staff use computers it is likely they will need to complete a display screen equipment (DSE) risk assessment to ensure they are seated correctly with relevant adjustments made to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury (RSI) or work-related upper limb disorders (WRULDs) at work.

  9. Have manual handling assessments and training been provided to staff?

    There are specific duties for an employer to ensure that appropriate assessments of tasks and work activities have been completed to both reduce the risk of injury to workers and be compliant with legislation, where possible mechanical handling aids such as a trolley should be provided.

  10. Is there any lifting equipment used?

    Where lifting equipment is used, there are specific requirements under Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) whereby equipment should be inspected and tested for equipment the lifts people, a hoist or a passenger lift for example, would need to be inspected every six months and forklift every 12 months.

Need health and safety assistance?

For further information on how we can support you or to find out how your health and safety measures up, call 0808 145 4436.