Home » Law » Minimum Obligations

Do I have to have a health and safety policy?
Do I have to conduct a risk assessment?

printable version of this document

As an employer you must do at least the following:

Take out employer’s liability insurance.

You must also display the insurance certificate.

Register the business with the Health & Safety Executive, if necessary. 

Most businesses are now exempt from regulation but some registration is still required.

Appoint a competent person to have responsibility for day-to-day health and safety issues. 

This may be you alone or you and another person.  It can be a fellow partner or director or an employee or an outside consultant.

Write a health and safety policy. 

If you have less than five employees in a year, you need not write your policy down but you must have one and you must consult your employees about it.  Not writing it down makes it difficult to prove that you have met your obligations and difficult to discuss with your employees so we recommend that all employers write down their policy, no matter how few employees you have.

Consult with your employees on all aspects of health and safety.

Display the Health and Safety Poster.

Conduct Risk Assessments. 

Every employer must conduct an assessment to determine if any significant risks exist in the workplace or in the working practices of the business and then must take all reasonably practicable steps to remove or reduce them or to protect their workers from them.  Where you have more than five employees in a year, the results of the risk assessment must be written down and your employees consulted but again, we would advise every employer to write down their risk assessment results.  Different statutes and Regulations require different risk assessments depending upon the industry you are in and what it is that your business does.

Provide adequate welfare facilities.

This includes such things as toilets and rest rooms, drinking water, lighting and heating.

Provide health and safety training and information.

You must ensure that your employees are properly trained to do their job safely.



Appoint someone to be responsible for First Aid.

If you have enough employees or the risks inherent in your busines require it then you should also have trained first aiders.

Keep an Accident Book and comply with the Reporting of Accident Regulations (RIDDOR).

Every accident and near miss should be recorded in an accident book. Certain accidents and absenses from work must also be reported to the Authorities.

In addition, you must stay up to date. 

Your risk assessments must remain current and relevant and must be re-evaluated in the event of a change of circumstances.  You must continue to consult with your employees and you must keep your health and safety policy under review.




Did you know:

Creating and reinforcing
a positive outlook towards
health and safety is part of a successful, positive, can-do business culture

Managers and line managers
and all employees have
an important role to play
and should be consulted

Employees and Managers
are often the first to
know if there is a problem
and the ones most likely
to have a solution

Employees have duties
under the legislation
as well as employers

Employees must take
reasonable care of themselves
and others affected
by their acts or ommissions

The HSE will prosecute
individuals in the management
chain who have neglected their responsibilities or connived or consented to breaches.