Health and safety advice for businesses

By law, businesses have to maintain the health, safety and welfare of employees, members of the public and anyone else who is affected by the business activity.

Health and safety does not need to be complicated. There are simple steps businesses can take to manage their health and safety to comply with the law.

Information and guidance on these standards can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.

A good starting point for basic health and safety legal requirements can be found within the following leaflet by the Health and Safety Executive, Health and Safety made Simple – The Basics for your Business or by visiting Health and Safety Made Simple website.

For specific advice in relation to specific areas of health and safety, visit HSE A-Z Index.

We are focusing on the current health and safety topic areas within our inspections.

An officer may visit your premises to undertake a routine inspection or as a result of a complaint or accident.

The inspector does not need to make an appointment.  They have the right to enter and inspect all commercial premises at all reasonable hours, so will often carry out the visit without notice. Occasionally the inspector may make an appointment to ensure that they speak to the manager or particular staff member.  This will be dependent upon the circumstances of the visit.

When the officer arrives they will introduce themselves and show you identification and will remain polite throughout the visit.

The officer will always give you feedback on a visit.  This includes any problems they have identified and will advise you on how the problems can be put right and whether you must do it to comply with the law or whether it is good practice.

The officer will always either leave a report at the time of the visit or will follow the visit with a letter outlining the issues found, along with the legislation which is being breached and timescales to rectify the problems.

You will be given a reasonable time to address these issues unless there is an immediate risk to health and safety.

During the visit the officer will need to see the workplace, work activities and the health and safety management system that the business has in place.

Officers may also want to view relevant paperwork for this business.

This may include:

  • The company health and safety policy
  • Workplace risk assessments
  • Maintenance and inspection records for equipment and or vehicles
  • Staff training records
  • Accident records

The officer may:

  • Take photographs of the premises or equipment
  • Take samples or seize any article or substance
  • Request that any article or substance which is or could be dangerous to be dismantled or tested
  • Question any person
  • Inspect any books or documents and take copies
  • Require reasonable co-operation from any person considered necessary
  • Serve an Improvement Notice where a breach of law is not rectified. This legally requires the issues to be addressed
  • Serve a Prohibition Notice if there is an imminent risk preventing the use of a premises, process or equipment
  • Prosecute.

The Derby City Council Enforcement Policy is available on request, please contact us.

If a complaint is received it will be investigated by an officer. 

The level of investigation will depend upon the nature of the complaint, the risk posed to health, the professional judgement of the investigating officer and previous knowledge of the history of the business. 

The officer may visit your business or may decide to contact you by telephone or email.