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Legal compliance for employers and the self-employed

Employers in the UK are legally required to consider the hea​​lth, safety and welfare of their employees, and anyone else affected by their work activities.

They must, under The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974:

  • Identify risks at work and any possible control measures to mitigate against those risks.

  • Identify the person responsible for implementing the precautions.

  • Provide a means of carrying out their health and safety policy and establish a procedure for reporting accidents.

  • Identify relevant legal requirements that apply in each part of the workplace.

  • Have a written health and safety policy statement (if they have five or more employees).

  • have access to a competent health and safety p​​erson.


These requirements are supported by various regulations that address specific areas of workplace health and safety in more detail.

Also, under Section 1 of the Deregulation Act 2015, the Government amended Section 3(2) of the Act which imposed a general duty on the self-employed to protect themselves and others from risk to their health and safety.

Self-employed people whose work activities pose no potential risk of causing harm to others are now exempt from health and safety law (however contractors may need to provide information to the organisations they are contracted to).

Self-employed people whose business activities may pose a risk to the health and safety of others, or is of a "prescribed description" such as agriculture, construction, quarrying, mining, offshore work or high-risk chemical sites, still need to protect themselves and others from risks to their health and safety.

In brief, employers must:

  • provide an up to date written health and safety policy statement (if employing five or more people)

  • Provide written risk assessments (these must be recorded if you employ five or more people)

  • provide a safe working environment with safe access and egress

  • Provide information and training to its employees and sub-contractors

  • Establish a safety committee (if employees are members of trade unions) or safety representatives (if not unionised)

  • Record all accidents and work-related ill health, and report if required

  • Carry out a fire risk assessment

  • Provide adequate first aid training and equipment

  • Control hazardous substances

  • Provide suitable protective equipment

  • Avoid hazardous manual handling, and assess the risk / provide training

  • Ensure those working at height are competent

  • Limit employee exposure to noise

  • Plan work to allow computer users to have regular breaks, and ensure that workstations are set up correctly

If you need any help or assistance in implementing any of the above, or require training for yourself or employees, then contact KSH Safety Services now.

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