Advice to businesses - health and safety

Advice for businesses on compliance with workplace health and safety law and information on the council's proactive health and safety priorities.

Who enforces workplace health and safety law and can provide advice?

Workplace health and safety legislation in Great Britain is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or one of the over 380 local authorities depending on the main activity carried out at any particular premises. For the East Riding of Yorkshire Council this function is undertaken by the Health, Safety and Licensing Service.

In general, our service is the main enforcing authority for retail, wholesale distribution and warehousing, hotel and catering premises, offices, and the consumer/leisure industries in the East Riding of Yorkshire area. Whereas the HSE are the enforcing authority for sectors such as agriculture, construction, and manufacturing.

As the enforcing authority for workplace health and safety law, our service will support businesses that we act as the enforcing authority for by providing advice on achieving legal compliance, guidance and good practice or signposting to other organisations that publish information and guidance. Businesses enforced by the HSE should contact them for support.

To check if a business is enforced by the Local Authority or the HSE please visit the HSE website which includes a full list of work activities.

What is the employers’ responsibility under workplace health and safety law?

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering workplace health and safety in Great Britain. It sets out the general duties which:

  • employers have towards employees and members of the public
  • employees have to themselves and to each other
  • certain self-employed have towards themselves and others.

You can read the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in full. All businesses are required to undertake the following steps to comply with health and safety law:

  • Prepare a health and safety policy
  • Managing risks and risk assessment at work
  • Report accidents and illness
  • Provide information and training
  • Consult your workers
  • Have the right workplace facilities
  • First aid in work
  • Display the law poster
  • Appoint a competent person.

For straightforward guidance on how to comply with health and safety law including the further information the on the above points, please visit the HSE (external website).

In addition to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 there is secondary legislation known as Regulations which place additional legal duties on businesses. Employers must appoint a competent person or people to help you meet your health and safety legal duties. They should have the skills, knowledge and experience to be able to recognise hazards in your business and have an understanding of the Regulations you are required to comply with. They should help you put reasonable controls in place to protect workers and others from harm.

Where can I obtain further advice on workplace health and safety?

We would recommend that you first check the HSE website which covers most sectors and topics comprehensively.

The HSE publishes guidance on behalf of the Government. Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs) published by the HSE gives practical advice on how to comply with the law. If you follow the advice, you will be doing enough to comply with the law in respect of those specific matters on which the Code gives advice.

If your business is located in the East Riding of Yorkshire area, and is enforced by the Local Authority please contact the Health, Safety and Licensing Service by email at

If your business is enforced by the HSE, please contact the HSE for more information. Their contact information is available here.

What are the council's proactive health and safety priorities?

In addition to the investigation of accidents and complaints. The Health, Safety and Licensing Service has a plan of pro-active priorities and interventions. The priorities are typically high risk sectors which are set by using accident data, national and local intelligence.

The aim of our pro-active work is to prevent accidents by raising awareness of the legal requirements and good practice published in guidance. Whilst promoting a positive health and safety culture and the benefits of good organisational culture.

This work normally involves providing advice to businesses and undertaking pro-active inspections. This section of the website focuses on the advice given to high risk sectors.

The high risk sectors that the council's health, safety and licensing service have selected as a priority for our pro-active work are:

  • storage warehouses
  • gas safety in commercial catering premises
  • inflatable amusement devices
  • visitor attractions with animal contact
  • raising awareness of work-related stress and mental health
  • large commercial waste and recycling bins.

For more information on the high risk sectors please read the information below.

More information on the pro-active inspections.

What advice is available for storage warehouses?

Warehouses can be regarded as high-risk premises due to a number of high risk activities carried out in such premises including:

  • poorly-managed workplace transport -- prevention of people being struck by vehicles -- prevention of injuries resulting from amputation and crushing
  • working from height
  • manual handling
  • occupational deafness
  • welfare provision for delivery drivers.

The HSE has published a guide to health and safety for warehousing and storage. The guidance gives special attention to topics, which includes manual handling, musculoskeletal awareness, mechanical handling, site transport and working at height, these are covered in detail but the broader emphasis is on responsible warehouse practices, general prevention of avoidable risks and hazards and information of accident and emergency

What advice is available for gas safety in commercial catering premises?

The proper installation, maintenance and inspection by a competent Gas Safe registered engineer is essential to ensuring that staff and customers at commercial catering premises are protected from exposure to carbon monoxide gas.

Unsafe appliances post a risk of exposure to carbon monoxide in commercial kitchens, the risks include badly installed or faulty appliances; poor ventilation resulting in lack of make -up air to support combustion; and/or inadequate extraction systems. These appliances include boilers, cooking ranges and more specialised equipment such as tandoori ovens and chapatti flamers.

All businesses must have a suitable maintenance system is in place for all gas appliances. Normally, they will engage an appropriately qualified and registered GAS SAFE engineer to undertake an inspection and provide you with an inspection certificate showing his/her findings.

Please find attached a copy of a letter that we are sending to businesses that explains their legal responsibilities and how to comply with the law.

Letter to Businesses (pdf 43kb)

Please find attached a checklist that can be used for a self-assessment and check for legal compliance of business.

Checklist for Businesses (pdf 2.3mb)

The HSE publishes guidance on the use of gas.

What advice is available for inflatable amusement devices?

There have been a number of fatalities and serious incidents nationally in recent years where bouncy castles and similar inflatable devices have collapsed or blown away in windy or adverse conditions. The council's health, safety and licensing service is currently running a safety campaign to improve the safety and management of inflatable amusement devices by increasing the level of awareness of the risks, safety and management best practice.

Health and Safety law applies to the supply, hire and use of inflatables for commercial purposes. The council has produced guidance documents covering best practice for businesses hiring devices and details their responsibilities included testing and maintaining of equipment, ensuring they carry out risk assessments and comply with the appropriate safety legislation and ensuring their devices are correctly insured.

Hirers such as event organisers can take simple precautions to help avoid serious incidents. The council has produced guidance documents covering best practice for hirers which includes who's responsible, what to check before hiring and what checks to carry out on the day of hiring.

ERYC Hirer Guidance (pdf 604kb)

ERYC Operators Guidance (pdf 116kb)

The HSE publish guidance on inflatable play equipment safety.

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