Small and medium-sized organisations

Advice on using this guidance for small and medium-sized organisations
Note: this advice does not replace the guidance; rather it is intended to help you to use it.

  • This guidance applies to organisations of all sizes.
  • But if you run a very small organisation you may find that managing health and safety is more relevant.
  • Owners and partners – the guidance talks a lot about what directors and boards should do, but many small organisations will not have either directors or boards. If you are the owner or partner of such an organisation, you are strongly advised to follow this guidance – it is easiest to interpret references to what boards and directors should do as referring to what 'you' should do.

Core actions

These are the same whatever the size of your organisation:

1 Plan

  • Plan how you are going to manage health and safety; if you employ 5 people or more you need to write your plan down.
  • Check your plan with your staff – winning their involvement can ensure your plan works.

2 Do

  • Put your plan into practice
  • Provide the resources to carry it out
  • Assess and deal with the real risks that you and your staff face, sensibly, responsibly and proportionately – don't waste your time and effort on trivial risks and unnecessary paperwork
  • If you take on new work practices or new people, consider whether there are any health and safety issues to take into account
  • Use competent Advisers to help you – see HSE's advice for small businesses

3 Check

  • Keep in touch with events and developments – in small organisations it is often easier to do so, so don't waste this advantage

4 Act

  • Take stock of how you are doing on a regular basis, or when any serious incident occurs

Further information

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Leadership Guidance - Leading Health & Safety at Work - The Owner's Guide

Institute of Directors Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland

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Updated 2023-05-02