Advice for businesses

Find advice to help businesses identify and comply with their legal obligations under health and safety law.

Health and safety is about preventing people from being harmed at work or becoming ill through work. Health and safety law applies to all businesses, however small. It covers employees, full or part-time, temporary or permanent, the self-employed, young people doing work experience, apprentices, charity workers, mobile workers and homeworkers. It also extends to any contractors or members of the public that visit your business. 

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Every employer has a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure, as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees whilst at work and that other persons who may be affected by their work activities are not exposed to risk to their health and safety. 

  • Health and safety policy - if you employ five or more people you are required to prepare a written statement of your health and safety policy, describing the organisation and arrangements you have in place for carrying out the policy 
  • Employers liability insurance - employers must take out and maintain approved insurance policies against liability for injuries or diseases to their employees caused by their work and a copy of your current employer's liability insurance certificate must be displayed at each premises 
  • Health and safety information for employees - employers are required to give information to employees through displaying a poster or distributing a leaflet to employees 

Managing health and safety 

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to make adequate arrangements for managing health and safety in their business. 

You must: 

  • arrange for one or more "competent persons" to help you meet your duties under health and safety law
  • appoint an employee, yourself or an outside consultant, provided that the person appointed is competent
  • carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments of the risks to employees, the self-employed and persons affected by your undertaking, which may include members of the public and other persons' employees
  • provide information, instruction, training and supervision for employees to ensure risks are controlled so far as reasonably practicable 

You should ensure that you have considered the health and safety risks to employees, as well as contractors or members of the public who visit your business. For detailed information refer to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.


If you are an employer, are self-employed, or are in control of work premises you have duties under the Report of Injuries, Diseases, Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).

Toilets for staff and customers

Toilets must be provided at businesses where the public has access as specified in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. We have adopted the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 for the provision of toilets in places where food and drink are served. 

Occupational safety 

There are various issues that can have an impact on workers; these are some of the most common. 


People's mental and physical health can be adversely affected by aspects of their working environment, producing feelings of anxiety and sometimes acute distress. Factors such as long hours, workload, uncertain expectations and lack of control over work tasks can lead to intense feelings of being unable to cope with such pressures, which can impact both physical and mental health. Read further information on stress in the workplace on the ROSPA website

Musculoskeletal disorders 

In 2020/21 musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 28 per cent of all work-related ill health cases, according to the HSE and can affect muscles, joints and tendons in all parts of the body. 

Further information on musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace is available on the HSE website


Dermatitis is a skin condition caused by contact with something that irritates the skin or causes an allergic reaction. Find out more about preventing dermatitis on the HSE website

Workplace specific health and safety

Hairdressers health and safety

An employer must provide a health and safety policy if they have 5 or more employees, however some hairdressers 'let out' chairs. In these cases, the hairdresser who rents the chair is not an employee. They are simply working at the owner's premises. As such, the Health and Safety at Work Act still imposes a duty on the owner to provide premises that fall within health and safety guidelines. Self employed people have a legal duty not to put other people at risk by the way they work. An employer must provide a risk assessment, which must be written if there are 5 or more employees. 

Read more information for hairdressers here.

Pubs and clubs - noise

Employers have a duty to protect the hearing of employees working in pubs and clubs playing loud music under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005

Construction sites

The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for health and safety on construction sites. However, cases of air or noise pollution from sites are dealt with by the council. 

Further assistance

If you require further assistance on health and safety, you can check who you need to contact us.

Residents and businesses in the former Scarborough Borough Council area can request information about health and safety or arrange a visit online.

You can report a health and safety issue on the HSE website.

It may be possible to resolve certain health and safety problems without contacting us or the HSE, for example by speaking to the person in charge of the work, your employer, or your union or employee representative.