Health and safety policy for small businesses

What are the health and safety requirements for small businesses?

Can we write our own policy?

Can we buy a health and safety policy?

Who has to sign the health and safety policy?

How often does the policy have to be updated?

These are some of the most common questions we get asked, so we have decided to add this page to help people gain a better understanding of what is required from a small business owners point a view.

OK first off, there are many requirements that a small business must adhere to. Not only to comply with legislation but also you should think from a moral standpoint.

The good news is that complying with legislation and working above the minimum recommended standards will not only keep you legal but you will find many other benefits such as staff should be happy and content that they are working for an employer who cares for their well-being, working practices that in the long run should be more efficient and productive, you should find once you can tick all the boxes regarding health and safety you may be more attractive to potential clients who are looking for a responsible business to work with and of course less future legal issues.

Depending on your type of business and how many employees you have there are numerous variations in legislation that could effect you. We will just highlight the main and most common areas for now but if you are worried that you have a specialised type of business that require special legislation then you can always contact us for help and current legislation in your area.

OK so assuming you have a small typical type business with 5 or more employees these are just some of the things you will need to address.

Please note this list is by no means exhaustive and as we all know legislation can change at a moments notice and is always being improved.


Employers liability insurance.

Yes It is a legal requirement if you employ anyone and you should also have the certificate on display, Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance Act 1969.

Health and safety law poster.

You need to put up this poster somewhere that is accessible and visible to all of your employees. You can if you prefer supply your employees with a leaflet individually called “Health and Safety Law: what you should know.

Accident book.

You should have an accident book to record accidents and near misses.

Health and safety policy.

If you have 5 or more employees you need to have a written health and safety policy. This will have several main sections.

This should include a general statement that should be signed and dated. It will have to state company and employee responsibilities and who is responsible for doing what.

Health and safety risks and what measures need to be taken to eliminate or reduce these risks.

Consultation with employees, who represents the employees and who will provide the consultation.

Safe plant and equipment highlighting who is responsible for providing maintenance and repairs and other procedures, Who purchases new equipment and so on.

Substance handling, Who is responsible for identifying, safe handling and use of hazardous substances.

Who is responsible for producing and reviewing COSHH assessments and informing employees.

Risk assessments

You need to identify hazards and eliminate or at least reduce risks to anyone who may be involved or effected buy your working activities.

You also needs to document your findings and describe actions to be taken.

These assessments also need to be reviewed regularly.


As you probably guessed this list keeps on getting larger as legislation and new technologies change.

We will check back often to add more to this page.

We would suggest however if you would like an up to date specific list of what your company may need why not use the contact form at and give us a brief description of what you do, we will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.