Identify the health and safety risks within your business


Andy Appleton, Commercial Manager at SA Safety Limited, outlines your health and safety obligations as an employer

Employers have legal responsibilities under the Act and each health and safety regulation (and there are a few!).

But it all boils down to the fundamental need to prevent harm to those who may be affected by your work.

These employer duties apply to directors, business owners, and self-employed persons.

If you are an employer you should be aware that employer responsibilities do not only apply to employees.

They can also apply to others. Visitors. Temporary workers. Clients. Employees of other employers working in shared premises or site. Even members of the public.

Below is a summary of employer health and safety responsibilities:

  • Ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees
  • Put in place safe systems of work
  • Provide a safe working environment
  • Use safe plant and equipment
  • Safe use of articles and substances
  • Provide employees and others with health and safety information, instruction, training and supervision
  • Produce a health and safety policy
  • Carry out risk assessments
  • Develop emergency procedures
  • Provide competent HSE advice where necessary
  • Comply with requirements of health and safety regulations

These are the general health and safety responsibilities of every employer. They apply to every business in the UK, of any size or type.

These general responsibilities are laid out in two key pieces of health and safety legislation: The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

Risk assessments

Every employer must conduct a risk assessment to identify potential health and safety hazards.

They are then required to act on it to minimise risks to their staff or anyone else at their workplace.

Risk assessment is the cornerstone of an employer’s management of health and safety.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers must make a “suitable and sufficient” assessment of risks to health and safety.

There are five steps to carrying out a risk assessment:

1. Identify all potential hazards that could cause harm. These might be mechanical or psychosocial.

2. Work out who might be harmed by the hazards and how.

3. Consider how likely it is that someone will be harmed, and how serious the harm might be. Based on this information, introduce measures to control the risk “insofar as is reasonably practical”.

4. Employers with five or more members of staff are required to record the significant findings of the risk assessment in writing.

5. Keep the risk assessment under review to ensure that control measures continue to be applied and to take account of any changes, such as new working practices or machinery.

Additional information is available directly from the Health & Safety Executive website here:

About SA Safety

SA Safety has over 20 years of experience in the Risk Management industry. We provide consultancy on Health & Safety, Risk Assessments, Methods Statements, Evacuation Planning and bespoke training programmes to deliver expert solutions to small- and medium-sized enterprises for a cost-effective way to ensure compliance and peace of mind.

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