Business

Health and safety for businesses

It is our duty to ensure all businesses comply with health and safety legislation, promote good health and safety practice within businesses and protect the health and safety of employees and members of the public who may be affected by work activities.

We have a programme of health and safety inspection work and investigate complaints, accidents and dangerous occurrences at work.

We carry out planned inspections at non-industrial private sector workplaces, including:

  • Retail shops
  • Wholesale premises
  • Offices
  • Catering and food services
  • Residential accommodation, including care homes and tourist caravan sites
  • Consumer services such as hairdressers, tanning, and shoe repair
  • Leisure premises
  • Outdoor events

The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for health and safety inspections of farms, factories, building sites and most public sector employers.

  1. What you can do

    As an employer, there are things you should do to make sure your workplace is a healthy, happy and safe place. 

    The Safer Workplace, Better Business workbook provides a comprehensive guide to meeting your legal and moral health and safety obligations.

    For more information, visit the Health and Safety Executive website.

  2. Enforcement and prosecution

    If a business has been prosecuted for a health and safety breach, details will be published on the Health and Safety Executive Prosecutions page.

    For more information about our enforcement policy, visit our Enforcement Policy page.

  3. Managing asbestos

    If you own or occupy a non-domestic industrial, commercial or public premises, such as a factory, warehouse, office, shop, hospital or school, you have a duty to assess the building for asbestos and implement a management plan.

    This is done by:

    • Finding out if asbestos is present in the premises.
    • Keeping a record of the location and condition of the asbestos or any materials which are thought to contain asbestos.
    • Assessing the risk of anyone being exposed to the materials identified, for example staff, contractors or the public.
    • Making an “asbestos management plan” that sets out how the risks from these materials will be managed and regularly reviewing this plan to check that adequate arrangements are in place.
    • Providing information on the location and condition of the asbestos material to anyone who may come into contact with it, such as building contractors, surveyors and architects.
    • Liaising with landlords who have a duty to pass on this information to their tenants. Tenants must also cooperate with their landlord, including allowing access to their home. 
    • Arranging for the safe and proper disposal of asbestos materials. Guidance can be found on the Somerset Waste Partnership website.

    Non-domestic premises can also include 'common' areas such as foyers, corridors, lifts, staircases, roof spaces, gardens, outhouses and garages.

    You can find out more about asbestos, and its dangers, from the Health and Safety Executive.

  4. Managing legionella

    As an employer, controller of a premises or a landlord, you have a duty to identify and manage any legionella risks.

    Legionella bacteria can be found, usually in low numbers, in rivers, reservoirs and lakes. As they are found in natural water sources, the bacteria may eventually colonise in manufactured water systems, particularly hot and cold water systems, cooling towers and other equipment that stores water.  

    Legionnaires' disease is normally contracted by inhaling legionella bacteria, either in droplets of water or ingesting contaminated water. It can lead to a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.

    For more information and guidance on how to control legionella risks in your workplace, visit the Health and Safety Executive.

  5. Working at height

    'Work at height' means work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance that would result in an injury.

    It is one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries in the workplace.

    Common cases include falls from ladders and through fragile surfaces.

    More information about working at height can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.

  6. Gas safety

    If you own or run a commercial catering premises, the proper installation, maintenance and inspection by a Gas Safe registered engineer is essential. This is to make sure you, your staff and your customers are protected from exposure to carbon monoxide gas.

    For more information, visit these pages:

  7. Preventing and controlling illness

    If you are an owner, operator or manager of a visitor attraction, use the Code of Practice to help prevent or control illness at your attraction.

    It gives guidance, including pictures and real-life case studies, of practical measures that you can use at your premises to help you comply with the law and keep your visitors safe.

  8. Hairdressers, nail bars and microblading

    If you are a hairdresser, visit the Health and Safety Executives Hairdressing page for health and safety information.

    If you own or run a nail bar, use the guidance below to make sure that you are operating good health and safety practices:

    View this leaflet for helpful information about microblading.

  9. Bouncy Castles and other play inflatables

    Following a number of tragic fatalities involving a child and an inflatable amusement device, the Health and Safety Executive has published revised guidance for industry stakeholders and operators of inflatable equipment.

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