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Health and safety

Health and safety is about preventing people from being harmed at work or becoming ill through work.

The law applies to all businesses and covers:

  • employees, full or part-time, temporary or permanent
  • self-employed people
  • young people on work experience, and apprentices
  • charity workers
  • mobile workers and homeworkers

It also protects any visitors or contractors on business premises.

Businesses employing five or more people should have:

  • a written health and safety policy, displayed for all staff to see
  • suitable and sufficient risk assessments

Visits and inspections

Health and safety officers may visit a premises for many reasons including:

  • routine health and safety inspections
  • part of an educational campaign
  • in response to an accident or complaint

An officer will expect to look at the workplace, the activities being carried out and the management of health and safety in order to check that the employer is complying with health and safety law.

If an officer finds a breach of the health and safety law, then they will take action to try and rectify the problem.

Possible actions include:

  • informal action
  • improvement notice
  • prohibition notice
  • prosecution

After any visit the officer should provide employees with information about any actions taken.