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Out of all the queries from small businesses, sole traders and those growing, the biggest conundrum we hear of is 'help! I don't know where to start!" 

Even if you're more established, it's still worth a read. 

Sadly, registering your self employment or limited company doesn't come with a manual of how to find out what you need to do 'health and safety wise'. We've put together some pointers below. 

You don't have any staff or a premises

- You need a health and safety policy, but don't need to write it down. This translates to being able to confidently explain what your commitment is to health and safety, explaining you know the law, and your duty.

- You need to know the regulations that apply and what they require of you. 

- You must have a competent health and safety person available to the business. Competency is having the correct skills, knowledge, experience and training to manage the company's health and safety. 

- You must make sure you suitably identify the hazards associated with your business, and control them (Risk Assessment).  

- You must ensure by the actions you take (or don't take) that no one will be harmed, whether it be from airborne dust, tripping over your kit, or something falling on them to name a few.

- You must ensure any incident meeting the criteria under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) is reported to the HSE and within the timescales stipulated.

- You will need insurance. What insurance you require and the levels of cover is not strictly a H&S aspect and we recommend you seek advice from a competent insurer. 

You have employees but no premises (Less than 5) 

The above, plus:

- Display a copy of the HSE poster somewhere they will see it, or give a pocket leaflet version as a handout.

- Ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of your employees, and that's whether you have 1 or 100+.

- You must ensure you provide a safe workplace or environment to your employees (this could be a company car or sites visited if you don't have a physical premises) 

- You must provide any PPE required free of charge.

- You must provide safe, maintained plant and equipment.

- You must ensure employees are given suitable and sufficient training, instruction and supervision. 

**You'll need to consider the risks to your staff from the tasks you ask them to do, the tools and equipment they use, and the environments they work in. It could be dust , lone working, home working or driving a car** 


You will also need to ensure you have HR advice available to you as certain HR policies are required by law. 

You have 5 or more employees but no premises (consultancy, field based, home workers) 

The above, plus:

- You must ensure your health and safety policy and risk assessments are written down. 

You have employees and a premises (rented, purchased or otherwise) 

The above, plus:

- You must ensure a fire risk assessment is carried out by a competent person, ideally reviewed every year. It is important to address any actions raised. 

- You must have gas services, electrical fixed wiring and other fixtures such as local exhaust ventilation & legionella checks completed. 

- Other fixtures that require inspection are roller shutters, racking, fork lift trucks, hydraulic lifting platforms. 

- You must make sure the fire alarm & emergency lighting are tested, fire signage and evacuation procedures are in place

-You must communicate any hazards on the premises to your staff

- You should display the HSE poster on the notice board, along with the H&S policy statement and insurances. 

If you have any other questions, please contact us.

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