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Setting up a New Business - Health and Safety Requirements

What must you consider in relation to health and safety as you set up a new business?

Do health and safety laws apply to me?

Yes - To all firms, however small; also to the self-employed and to employees. Enforcement of law will either rest with your local authority (e.g. New Forest District Council) or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Who do I need to contact before starting?

If you are looking at a property you should seek advice from the Council's Planning and Development Department or New Forest National Park Authority to ensure that it has the appropriate planning consent. If you are carrying out any alterations to the structure of the building you may need planning or building regulations permission.

Do I need to register my business?

No - there is no longer a legal requirement for you to register your business, however you should contact this department to inform us of your business as we maybe able to provide advice relevant to Health & Safety.

Do I need employers' liability insurance?

It's the law if you employ anyone - and you should display a copy of the certificate in a place where your staff can view it.

Do I need to display any posters?

Yes, the Health and Safety Law Poster if you employ anyone. Visit the HSE website.

Do I have to employ a health and safety consultant?

No. Under Regulation 7 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations you must appoint one or more persons to assist you in complying with the legislation and ensure that they are competent to do the job. They can be an employee, a consultant or indeed the owner of the company provided they do the job effectively. We are always available and happy to give advice, however we are not here to write policies or risk assessments. There is now a database for safety consultants available at

Do I need to report injuries at work?

Yes, and other incidents. For information on which ones and who should report them, see Accident Reporting and Investigation (RIDDOR).

Do I need any first aiders?

Not necessarily - this is subject to a risk assessment (see First Aid at Work). Where an employer's assessment of first aid needs identifies that a first aider is not necessary, the minimum requirement on an employer is to appoint a person to take charge of the first-aid arrangements, including looking after the equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. Arrangements should be made for an appointed person to be available to undertake these duties at all times when people are at work so more than one person may be required.

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Updated: 22 Mar 2018
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