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Health and Safety Legal Responsibilities for Employers

As a business owner, when you employ anyone, both you and your employees will have legal health and safety responsibilities.

Implementing your responsibilities as an employer will help to protect you, your employees and your business from legal and financial penalties, personal injury claims and demonstrate to others you take your safety responsibilities seriously.

1. Consulting with employees on matters affecting their health and safety.

This can either involve holding regular health and safety committee meetings with staff members who agree to act as representatives or as simply as including health and safety on your team meeting agenda and keeping a record of the matters arising and actions to be taken.

2. Providing and maintaining plant, equipment, and safe systems of work.

Any type of work equipment whether it's a photocopier, wheelbarrow, forklift or warehouse racking need to be regularly checked and maintained so they remain in good condition and safe for use.

3. Ensuring the safe use, handling, storage, and transport of substances.

Any chemicals used in the workplace whether it's cleaning products, paints, adhesives - basically anything which comes with a safety data sheet/hazard warning symbols need to be COSHH assessed to ensure they can be used, handled and stored safely and without risk. Additionally where there is a risk of exposure to airborne dust/fumes from work tasks, exposure will also need to be assessed.

4. Providing information, instruction, and supervision for employees.

This can be in the form of safety signage, safe working procedures and posters.

5. Ensuring all employees are competent to do their tasks and give them adequate


Training and competency is a fundamental part of managing health and safety. Training covers safe use of equipment, knowledge about the risks employees are exposed to and the controls in place to protect them. It should also cover safe working practices such as fire evacuation procedures, first aid and how to report an accident. Training for specific roles will also be necessary such as first aiders and fire marshals.

6. Providing welfare facilities and a working environment that's healthy and safe for

everyone in the workplace, including those with disabilities.

This includes provision and adequate numbers of toilets and washrooms, drinking

water and somewhere to rest and eat meals. A workplace should be clean with a reasonable working temperature, good ventilation, suitable lighting and the right amount of space and seating. There should be no obstructions on floors and traffic routes, and windows easily opened and regularly cleaned.

If you would like support to implement your responsibilities with hands-on help please get in touch.

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