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Introduction

Why use this site?

In general, health and safety laws apply to all businesses, no matter how small. As an employer, or a self-employed person, you are responsible for health and safety in your business. You need to take the right precautions to reduce the risks of workplace dangers and provide a safe working environment.

Health and safety management should be a straightforward part of managing your workplace as a whole. It involves practical steps that protect people from harm and at the same time protect the future success and the growth of your business. Good practice in health and safety makes sound business sense.

This site explains what the law requires and helps you put it into practice.

What are the main causes of ill health and accidents at work?

Each year people are killed at work and many are injured or suffer ill health.

The most common causes of serious injury at work are slips and trips and falls from height. There are health conditions that can be caused or made worse by work and working environments, including cancer, asthma, skin complaints, stress and musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain.

The law and guidance

The main law governing health and safety at work in the United Kingdom is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act). This places general duties on you to do what is reasonably practicable This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the real risk in terms of money, time or trouble. However, you do not need to take action if it would be grossly disproportionate to the level of risk. to ensure health and safety.

Other regulations supporting the HSW Act set out more detailed legal duties for specific activities or industries. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced publications to help you understand what these mean in practice.

Information about useful publications and websites is given in ‘Find out more’ sections.

How to use this site

This site is easy to use and will help you comply with the law and prevent workplace accidents and ill health.

It is aimed at those starting up or running a small to medium-sized business, those who have been appointed as a safety representative in a larger organisation, employees and those who want additional advice on how to control workplace hazards. Whatever line of work you’re in, it will help you run a safe and healthy workplace.

The information in the sections ‘How to manage health and safety’, ‘Your organisation’, ‘Your workers’ and ‘Your workplace’ applies to all businesses. You can select the topics that are relevant to you from a list including electricity, gas, harmful substances etc.

How to manage health and safety suggests how you can tackle the basics of health and safety. It shows how you can identify, assess and control the activities that might cause harm in your business.

Your organisation, Your workers and Your workplace cover issues to consider when looking at how you operate your business and things you need to take account of regarding your workers’ health and safety.

The remaining sections are for anyone who needs to know more about tackling a particular hazard. They tell you what you need to do to work safely, as well as which laws apply.

Looking at your workplace in the way this site suggests will help you and your workers stay safe and healthy. It will also go a long way to satisfying the law – including the risk assessment that you must do under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Updated 2014-05-19