Employers' health and safety duties

Information about your health and safety-related duties and obligations as a business.

Health and safety doesn't have to be expensive, time consuming or complicated.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states that as an employer, or self-employed person you must look after yourself and everyone working for you or who may be affected by what you do (this includes members of the public and visitors to your premises).

Being a small business does not exempt you as an employer from your duties under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, however the amount of Health & Safety legislation that may be applicable should be commensurate to the size of the business and the nature of the hazards encountered.

The amount and type of Health & Safety legislation applicable to a business does not necessarily depend on the business size. A small business undertaking high risk practises may require more, additional and/or different legislation to a large business undertaking low-risk processes.

The duties are:

  • To provide a safe place of work and maintain all plant equipment and machinery.
  • To ensure that all materials are properly stored, handled, used and transported.
  • To provide information, advice, instruction, training and supervision to employees and others at risk of injury.
  • To provide a safe and healthy work environment.
  • To provide a written safety policy where there are five or more employees within the organisation.

A full list of employer duties from the Legislation Government website (external link)

Health and safety basics for your business (external link)

General guidance for all workplaces (external link)

If you answer no to any questions further actions will be necessary.

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