What happens if my business doesn’t get health and safety right?

Businesses of all shapes and sizes need to ensure that they are acting in accordance with appropriate health and safety laws at all times. It makes good business sense to protect your employees from the outset and to avoid absences, additional insurance costs and management time which may otherwise be lost investigating a breach.

If a breach occurs, this could result in significant consequences both for the business and for you as an owner or director. Depending on the nature and gravity of the breach, your business could face consequences ranging from a fine to the disqualification as a director, or even imprisonment. In some cases, both the company and its directors will be prosecuted. This is one of many reasons why businesses need to keep on top of health and safety compliance at all times.

Employers’ general obligations are set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, but you also need to be aware of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and any specific rules that are relevant to your particular business sector or activity.

You are required to carry out adequate risk assessments of workplaces, jobs and projects, which look at the risks and consider how best to avoid, reduce or manage those risks. You also need to consider whether protective clothing is required, whether adequate training has been provided and whether there are safeguards in place for workers who are carrying out tasks alone.

In addition to this, if you have five employees or more, you are must have a written health and safety policy in place and make this readily available.

It is important to remember that health and safety laws exist for the best of reasons and the very worst breaches could result in serious injury – or even death.

If you are worried that your business isn’t up-to-speed with its health and safety obligations, speak to our expert team today.  

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Donna Martin

Donna Martin

Partner at Mackrell Turner Garrett
Donna Martin is a Partner in the Employment team at Mackrell Turner Garrett’s London office. She advises both employers and employees on a full range of contentious and non-contentious issues. As an employment law expert, Donna has significant experience in drafting employment contracts and handbooks, advising on grievance and disciplinary procedures and preparatory work prior to tribunals, including advising on the advantages and disadvantages of settling cases.