Byline: By Louise Brason, Business Link County Durham
Health and safety is a serious business: last year, there were
28,000 major work-related injuries in the UK.
Health and safety laws apply to all businesses, however small.
Compensation claims from customers or employees can be steep, so
it's important all businesses have adequate procedures in place.
Public and employer's liability insurance is essential to cover
them in case of trips or falls.
A risk assessment is a legal requirement even if a business has no
This shows what a business is doing to identify and minimise causes
of injury and ill health to employees, customers and members of the
If a business has five or more employees, it must have a written
health and safety policy, laying out procedures, including those for
monitoring and recording accidents. This should be kept up-to-date and
given to all employees.
Small businesses need to be physically prepared for accidents and
emergencies. This includes checking fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and
fire exits on a regular basis.
A suitably-stocked first aid box should be available and every
employee should know where it is kept. All employers must register with
the Health and Safety Executive, usually through their local authority.
Inspectors are entitled to visit business premises to make sure
they are complying with the law. However, health and safety inspectors
are also there to provide help and advice on how to make each business a
If employers have any queries about complying with health and
safety legislation, they should contact a Business Link advisers on 0845
600 9006. Alternatively, visit the Health and Safety Executive's
website at www.hse.gov.uk/startup/index.htm
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