Health and safety at work - regulation and inspection

Contents

A positive attitude to health and safety in the workplace makes good business sense. The aim of health and safety law is to help prevent people being harmed by work activities. The main piece of legislation is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASWA).  The Act places a legal duty on employers to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of those who work for them and other people who enter the workplace are protected. It also places a duty on people at work to take “reasonable care for their own health and safety and for the health and safety of other people who may be affected by their acts or omissions”.  HASWA is supported by Regulations, Codes of Practice and Guidance relating to a range of work activities and specific hazards.

Currently health and safety enforcement in the United Kingdom is split between local authorities and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  As a guide, higher risk businesses such as manufacturing and construction are enforced by the HSE. Local authorities will generally enforce health and safety law in lower risk businesses.

Who is the enforcing authority for my business?

Derby City Council’s Food and Safety Team enforces health and safety law in the following types of businesses in Derby:

  • shops
  • offices
  • hairdressers and beauty parlours
  • cinemas
  • hotels and guest houses
  • warehouses
  • tyre and exhaust centres
  • leisure activities
  • other consumer services such as launderettes, churches and banks
  • residential care homes.

The HSE cover the following workplaces nationwide:

  • factories, chemical plants and power stations
  • building sites
  • garages, car repair and workshops
  • printers
  • hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, dentists and nursing homes
  • schools and universities
  • mines and quarries
  • railways and transport on public roads
  • fairgrounds
  • farms
  • council owned premises.

These lists are not exhaustive.  Further information on HSE enforced businesses can be found at the HSE website.

The role of the Food and Safety Team

We promote health and safety in the workplace.  This includes the welfare of staff and the protection of other people who may be exposed to risks from work activities. We are responsible for providing advice, carrying out inspections and enforcement.

Officers in the Food and Safety Team:

  • provide practical advice to businesses to ensure that health and safety is well managed in the workplace
  • provide practical advice to staff who may have health and safety problems or concerns at work
  • inspect businesses on a routine basis to ensure compliance with health and safety law
  • investigate accidents and work-related ill health in the workplace to try and prevent similar incidents occurring
  • investigate complaints relating to workplace conditions or concerns about health and safety in businesses.

How will I know if an officer is visiting?

Officers do not have to announce their visits, particularly when they are investigating accidents or complaints.  However, they may, in some circumstances, make appointments to ensure that they speak to a manager or particular staff members during a routine inspection or investigation.

What will the officers want to see on their visit?

During a visit officers may look at the workplace, work activities and the health and safety management system that the business has in place.

Officers may also wish to review relevant paperwork which could include:

  • company health and safety policy
  • workplace risk assessments
  • maintenance and inspection records for particular pieces of machinery or vehicles
  • staff training records
  • accident records.

What will the officers do if they have concerns? 

If officers have any concerns they make take the following action depending how serious the situation is:

  • verbal or written advice
  • verbal or written warning
  • Improvement Notice requiring work to be undertaken within a fixed time period
  • Prohibition Notice requiring an activity to stop as it poses a serious risk of injury
  • Prosecution or a simple caution for serious offences or where a business fails to comply with a notice.

Who is responsible for everyday health and safety in my business?

Under HASWA and associated regulations all employers have a duty to make sure their workplaces are safe for their employees and members of the public.  Employers need to make suitable and sufficient arrangements for managing health and safety in their business.

HASWA also places a duty on people at work to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and for the health and safety of other people who may be affected by their acts or omissions.  This also applies to people who are self-employed.

What help can I get managing health and safety in my business?

Practical help and advice for all types of business can be found on the HSE website

Information on how to manage health and safety in your business can be found in the following sections.

I have a concern about health and safety in my workplace – what can I do?

If you are an employee then you have the right to expect:

  • a safe working environment
  • clear instructions, information and adequate training to enable you to do your job safely
  • minimum welfare facilities at your place of work.

If you have concerns about health and safety or welfare facilities at your place of work then you can contact us for advice or to make a complaint. 

Health and Safety in your business

Health and safety does not have to be complicated.  There are a number of simple steps you can take to effectively manage health and safety in your business and to comply with the law.

In general the laws apply to all businesses.  Whether you employ people or are self-employed you are responsible for health and safety in your business

How do I go about managing health and safety in my workplace?

If you are setting up a business or are looking to review your health and safety arrangements then you can use the following sections to assist you in your responsibilities.  The sections provide simple guidance and specific links to free information on the internet that will help you.

You need to remember that there may also be extra things you will need to do to comply with the law.  This will depend on your type of business or the way you carry out certain activities.

For further general information and guidance:

General information and guidance can be found at the HSE website.

Further basic information can be found on at the HSE’s health and safety made simple web page

Leaflets and guidance documents produced by the HSE to help businesses can either be ordered online or downloaded for free.  Links to specific leaflets and guidance are listed in the following sections. 

Who can help me make sure I comply with my responsibilities? 

As an employer you must appoint one or more competent people to help you with health and safety.  A competent person is someone who has the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to manage health and safety in your business.

You may have the knowledge and ability to undertake and meet all your health and safety responsibilities yourself or with the help of staff.  If you do not feel confident in this then you may need some external help or advice.

To enable you to get the right advice you will first need to decide what help you need.  Look at the other sections below and then use the following links and information to help you with this:

For competent advice visit the HSE business website 

Get the HSE leaflet – Getting specialist help with health and safety, reference INDG420, or download the free leaflet

Writing a health and safety policy for your business

A health and safety policy describes how you will manage health and safety in your business.  It needs to include details of who does what, when and how to ensure safety in the workplace.

If you employ five or more people you must have a written policy.  If you have fewer than five employees completing a policy is good practice although not required by law.

A policy does not have to be complicated, although it must reflect your business and the activities that are carried out.

You must review the policy on a regular basis to make sure it is up to date.  You must also make sure that all your employees and others who enter your premises for the purpose of working, such as contractors or temporary staff, are aware of what the policy says.

You can use the following information and links to help you write your policy:

Advice on completing a policy including a sample template can be found at the HSE health and safety made simple website 

Download a sample health and safety policy document

Get the HSE leaflet – An introduction to health and safety reference INDG259 rev1, or download the free An introduction to health and safety leaflet

Understand and manage the risks in your business

Employers are required by law to carry out an assessment of significant risks in the workplace, commonly known as a risk assessment.  To do this you need to:

  1. Think about what may cause harm to people in your business – these are the hazards.  People who could be harmed may include employees, members of the public and others who enter your premises for the purpose of working, such as contractors or temporary staff.
  2. Assess the risks – the chance of somebody being harmed by a hazard, and how serious this could be.  Concentrate on the risks that are most likely to harm someone.
  3. Consider whether you are doing enough to prevent or control the risks and whether you can do things in the workplace to make it safer.
  4. Put in place additional measures to control or reduce the risks where you have identified that you are not currently doing enough.
  5. Record your findings.  If you have fewer than five employees then you do not have to write anything down, although it is good practice to do so.

The law does not expect you to remove all risks, but to protect people by putting in place reasonable measures to control those risks.

For some risks there are particular control measures that are required by law.  See the information and links below for more information.

The risk assessment must be specific to a workplace.  If you have more than one site you will need a risk assessment specific to each site.  Where you share a workplace with other businesses you will need to co-operate with them on health and safety matters.

You will need to review your risk assessment on a regular basis to make sure it is up to date.  This is important when you bring in new equipment, substances or procedures that could lead to new hazards.  You must also make sure that all your employees and others who enter your premises for the purpose of working such as contractors or temporary staff are aware of the findings of your risk assessment.

You also need to remember that a specific risk assessment must be completed for any employee that is under 18 years of age and for any female staff members who are pregnant. 

You can use the following information and links to help you with your risk assessment:

Simple advice on risk assessment including a sample template can be found at the HSE health and safety made simple website 

Further advice on risk assessment and examples of risk assessments can be found at HSE risk management website

Get the HSE leaflet – Five steps to risk assessment, reference INDG163 rev2, or download the free Five steps to risk assessment leaflet

Specific information on risks in various business types and industries can be found by searching the HSE website

Consult your staff

The law says that you must consult all your employees on health and safety matters.  You can do this by listening and talking to them about:

  • health and safety and the work they do
  • your policy and risk assessment and how to control risks
  • the best ways of providing information and training.

You may learn things from staff that you had not considered that could help you in controlling risks in the workplace.  You can also hear their concerns and tell them what you are doing to help protect them.

You can talk to your staff directly or you may decide to talk to a health and safety representative who has been chosen by your staff or by a trade union.  You cannot decide who this individual will be yourself.

You can use the following information and links to help you consult with your staff:

Advice on consulting with staff can be found at the HSE Do your bit website

Get the HSE leaflet – Consulting employees on health and safety, reference INDG232 rev1, or download the free Consulting employees on health and safety leaflet

Provide free training and information

The law says that you must provide clear instructions, information and adequate training for your employees.  You need to make sure that you include any contractors or self-employed people who may work for you for a period of time.

Employees will need instruction, information and training on:

  • hazards and risks they might face while doing their job
  • measures in place to deal with those hazards and risks including the safe use of machinery and the use of personal protective equipment
  • emergency procedures and what to do.

Training needs to be relevant and effective.  Information and training needs to be easy to understand and to follow.  It is a good idea to keep records of any training given to individual staff members.

Remember that any training that is needed for an employee to do his or her job should take place in working hours and the employee should not be expected to pay for the training.

You can use the following information and links to help provide information and training:

Get the HSE leaflet, Health and safety training – what you need to know, reference INDG345 reprinted 06/08, or download the free Health and safety training leaflet.

Provide correct workplace facilities

Providing the right workplace facilities will help protect the safety and health of everyone who works in, or visits your business.

By law you must provide a safe work place.  You need to consider welfare facilities, health issues and safety issues in your workplace.

Welfare facilities for your employees will include:

  • toilets and washbasins with hot and cold water, soap and hand drying facilities
  • drinking water
  • storage areas for outdoor clothing and changing facilities if needed
  • somewhere to rest and eat meals.

A healthy working environment will need to have:

  • good ventilation – either fresh, clean air drawn from outside or a ventilation system
  • a comfortable working temperature, unless other laws require a lower temperature – if this is the case then protective clothing and or regular breaks in a heated area will have to be provided
  • suitable natural or artificial light for the work being carried out
  • a clean workspace with facilities for disposing of waste
  • suitable work stations and seating with adequate room.

To keep your workplace safe you must:

  • adequately maintain your premises and all work equipment
  • keep floors, stairs and traffic routes free from obstruction
  • have windows that can be safely opened
  • make sure that any transparent material such as glass doors or walls are clearly visible and either protected or made of safety materials.

You cannot consider workplace facilities in isolation. You must make sure that your risk assessment covers workplace safety.

You can use the following information and links to help provide the correct workplace facilities and maintain a safe workplace:

Get the HSE leaflet – Welfare at work – Guidance for employers on welfare provisions, reference INDG293 rev1 reprinted 09/07, or download the free Guidance for employers on welfare provisions leaflet

Get the HSE leaflet – Workplace health, safety and welfare – A short guide for managers, reference INDG244 rev2, or download the free A short guide for managers leaflet

Buy the HSE Approved Code of Practice – Workplace health, safety and welfare, ISBN 978 0 7176 0413 5, or download The code of practice free document

Ensure adequate arrangements for first aid, accidents and ill health

You must have first-aid arrangements in your workplace. You are responsible for making sure that injured or ill employees receive immediate attention. Specific health and safety arrangements will depend on the particular circumstances in your workplace. It is your responsibility to assess what these arrangements are but, as a minimum, you must have:

  • a suitably stocked first aid kit
  • an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements in the workplace
  • information for all staff giving details of first-aid arrangements in the workplace.

You may need a trained first-aider.  This is someone who holds a qualification in first aid at work or emergency first aid at work from an approved training provider.

The law says that you must report certain accidents, incidents and cases of work-related disease.  Further information on this can be found on our Accident Reporting page.

You can use the following information and links to help you plan your first-aid arrangements:

Advice on first aid can be found at HSE First aid at work website

Get the HSE leaflet – First aid at work – Your questions answered, reference INDG214 rev1 revised 10/09, or download the free First aid at work leaflet.

Buy and display a health and safety law poster

The law says that if you employ anyone you must display the health and safety law poster where staff can easily read it. The alternative is to provide staff with a copy of the equivalent pocket card.

The health and safety law poster informs staff what they and their employers need to do. There is also room to add details of workplace health and safety representatives or health and safety contacts.

A new health and safety law poster was published in 2009. Any workplace that is displaying the older 1999 health and safety law poster must replace it with the new version by 5th April 2014.

You can use the following information and links to provide a health and safety law poster:

Further information about the health and safety law poster can be found at the HSE Health and safety law poster website 

You can buy copies of the poster or pocket cards at the HSE Health and safety law website

The Health and Safety Law Poster, ISBN 978 07176 63149 and pocket cards, ISBN 978 07176 63507 are also available from Stationery Office bookshops, the nearest being Blackwell’s in Nottingham. You can telephone them on 0115 9587063. 

Arrange insurance for your business

Employers’ liability insurance covers you against claims from employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work.

Most businesses are required to have employers’ liability insurance.  You can buy this insurance through insurers, insurance brokers or trade associations.  It often comes as part of an insurance package for businesses but you will need to check specific cover on any policy you take out.  The policy must be with an authorised insurer.

You can use the following information and links to help you arrange employers' liability insurance:

Get the HSE leaflet – Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 – A guide for employers, reference HSE40 rev3, or download the free Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 leaflet 

Further information about insurance can be found at the Business Link website

Information about authorised insurers can be found on the Financial Services Authority 

Keep knowledge and arrangements up to date

You must review your health and safety policy and your risk assessment on a regular basis.

It is also a good idea to keep up to date with health and safety issues. You can do this by:

  • regularly checking the HSE's website
  • joining employers' organisations
  • joining trade associations
  • contact with Business Link

You can access the HSE website which has News and updates on health and safety.

You can access the Business Link website.

These web pages contain public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

Useful forms

Downloads

Contact details

Email:
Post address:
Food and Safety Team
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Derby
DE1 2FS
Phone: 01332 640779
Minicom: 01332 640666
Fax: 01332 643299
Food and Safety Team
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Derby
DE1 2FS