Health and safety

Advice for new businesses

All new businesses must be aware of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HASAWA) 1974 and the regulations made under the act.

The legislation exists to protect workers and members of the public from hazards that are present in the workplace. Compliance with the legislation means that generally the risk of harm to any person is reduced to as low as is reasonably practicable.

Your health and safety responsibilities

If you are working alone, your duty is to ensure you do not expose customers or members of the public to hazards you may be creating.

If you are an employer, you should have a health and safety policy and you must undertake a risk assessment. Both must be available to your employees so that they are aware of any rules or procedures they must abide by. If you have more than five employees, the policy and risk assessment must be written down.

It is good practice whether or not the policies are written, to keep a record of all staff to whom you have communicated the health and safety message.

Health and Safety Executive Scotland

The Health and Safety Executive Scotland (HSE) website has some useful tools to ensure that you are doing what is necessary to comply with Health and Safety legislation.

Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives

Healthy Working Lives (HWL) is a free and confidential service. Their website includes advice on:

You can contact their advice line on 0800 019 2211 for help or to arrange a workplace visit with one of their advisors if you need extra help.