The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering work-related health and safety in the United Kingdom. It sets out employers’ responsibilities for health and safety at work. Employers have a 'duty of care' to look after, as far as possible, the health and safety and welfare of employees while they are at work. Not only employers have responsibilities for the health and safety of their employees but they are also responsible for any visitors to their premises such as customers, suppliers and the general public.
All employers must conduct a Risk Assessment, however, only employers employing five or more employees must have a written Health and Safety Policy and have to record the significant findings of their Risk Assessment.
Employers employing less than five people are not legally required to have a written Health and Safety Policy and an official record of what the Risk Assessment finds. However, they still must conduct a Risk Assessment.
A Health and Safety Policy clearly sets out how an employer manages health and safety in the workplace by defining who does what, when and how.
A Risk Assessment is simply a careful examination of what in your work could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. The law does not expect you to eliminate all risks, but you are required to protect people ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’.
This document contains a template for a Health and Safety Policy and a Risk Assessment Form, it is in Microsoft Word format, written in plain English, easy to use and edit.