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What is health and safety all about?

It's about preventing people from being harmed or becoming ill at work. You can do this by taking the right precautions and providing a satisfactory working environment. Under health and safety rules, you must protect yourself and others, including members of the public, from workplace dangers.

Whom do health and safety laws apply to?

They apply to all businesses.

Who enforces health and safety law?

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE, and HSENI in Northern Ireland) or your local authority.

Do I need to register my business with the HSE or HSENI?

No, but depending on the nature of your business, you may have to register and/or submit forms to the HSE or HSENI and/or the local authority/local council.

Do I need employers' liability insurance?

Yes, if you employ anyone. You must also display the certificate where your employees can easily read it. You can display your certificate electronically, but if you do, you need to make sure your employees know how and where to find it, and have reasonable access to it.

Do I need to display anything?

Yes, the health and safety law poster, or in Northern Ireland, the health and safety law poster NI, if you employ anyone.

Do I have to report injuries and incidents at work?


In England, Wales and Scotland, if there is an accident connected with work (including physical violence) and a worker or a self-employed person working on your premises suffers an injury that is not a 'specified injury', but lasts over 7 consecutive days (not counting the day of the accident but including non-work days), you must report it to the HSE within 15 days. The incident should be noted in the business's accident book if the worker is off work for more than 3 days following the accident.

In Northern Ireland there is a duty to report:

  • work-related deaths
  • major injuries or over-three-day injuries
  • work related diseases, and
  • dangerous occurrences (near miss accidents).

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