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A guide to Health and Safety training basics in the UK |

It is a legal requirement that every business in the UK must have a policy for managing health and safety. But what are the rules surrounding Health and Safety and how can training help your company to stay safe, legal and risk savvy?

The basics of Health & Safety

UK Health and Safety is managed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). In 1974 the Health and Safety Act was passed to ensure that both employers and employees understood their mutual responsibility to keep the workplace safe.

Additions have been made to include reporting injuries, manual handling, the use of display screens, personal protective equipment and managing health and safety in the workplace.

Quick fire guide to Health & Safety requirements in the UK- what companies must do

The Health and Safety Executive has published a set of Health and Safety basics for small, low-risk businesses. These basic steps may be all you need to comply with Health and Safety Law.

If you are a larger or more complex business, then please contact our experts who can talk you through what steps you need to take to become compliant. Simply Learning and our partner organisations can help you to assess what you might need, draw up policies and support with training of teams.

The Health and Safety Executive has provided 9 areas of guidance for a small, low-risk business.

  1. Prepare a health and safety policy
  2. Managing risks and risk assessment at work
  3. Report accidents and illness
  4. Provide information and training
  5. Consult your workers
  6. Have the right workplace facilities
  7. First aid in work
  8. Display the law poster
  9. Appoint a competent person

Step 1- Prepare a health and safety policy

Every business must have a policy for managing health and safety. This is a legal requirement included in the Health and Safety at Work Act.

A health and safety policy sets out how you approach health and safety. It explains how you, as an employer, manage health and safety in your business, clearly stating who does what, when and how.

If you have more than 5 employees, you MUST write your policy down. If you have fewer than 5 employees, you do not have to write anything down but it is useful and advised to do so.

You must also share the policy and any changes to it with your employees.

How to write a policy

Your policy should cover 3 areas:

1 Statement of intent

This should state your general policy, including out commitment to managing health and safety. It should be signed by the employer or most senior person in the company and reviewed regularly.

2 Responsibilities for health and safety

You should list the names, positions and roles of the people in your business who have responsibility for health and safety.

3 Arrangements

Please give details of the practical arrangements you have in place, including risk assessments, training employees or safety signs and equipment.

There are templates available from the HSE

If you have a large, complex business or operate within construction, working at heights or within engineering, we offer several training courses to help you get your team up to speed, contact us to see how we can help.

As an employer you must either manage risk yourself or appoint a competent person.

Steps to managing risk include:

  • Identifying hazards
  • Assessing risk
  • Controlling risk
  • Recording your findings
  • Reviewing the control

Commonplace workplace risks include:

  • Working with Asbestos
  • Confined Spaces
  • Display Screen Equipment
  • Electrical Safety
  • Equipment and Machinery
  • Fire Safety
  • Gas Safety
  • Harmful Substances
  • Manual Handling
  • Noise
  • PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
  • Pressure Equipment
  • Radiation
  • Slips and Trips
  • Vibration
  • Working at Height
  • Work-related Stress


Simply Learning offers a whole range of courses designed to cover these risks. For a full course programme, please visit or contact us to discuss what you might need. |

Step 3 – Report Accidents and Illness

By law, you must report certain injuries, near misses and work-related disease- known as RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).

If you have more than 10 employees, you must keep an accident book under law. You can buy one from the HSE or record the details in your own system.

  • Keeping records allows you to identify patterns of accidents and injuries so that you can make adjustments to better manage risk.
  • Records are also a helpful tool when dealing with your insurance company.
  • Please note, you are required to keep people’s personal details safe by recording them confidentially in a secure place.

Step 4- Provide Information and Training

You must give your workers clear instructions, as well as adequate training and supervision.

The team at Simply Learning can support you to understand what training you might need.

This includes:

  • Hazards (things that could cause them harm)
  • Risks (the chances of that harm occurring)
  • Putting measures in place to deal with those hazards and risks
  • How to follow any emergency procedures


This includes supervising people, training new employees and helping all of your employees to understand what you expect from them in terms of health and safety. This also includes contractors who work for you.

We can support you with the 5-step approach to health and safety training which includes:

  1. Deciding what training your organisation needs
  2. Defining your training priorities
  3. Choosing your training methods and resources
  4. Delivering the training
  5. Checking that the training has worked

 Step 5 – Consult your Workers

You must consult your employees on health and safety by listening to them and talking about health and safety and the work they do, how risks are controlled and the best ways of providing information and training.

Consultation is a two-way process and your employees are often the best people to understand risks in the workplace. This can be done directly in smaller organisations or through a health and safety representative in larger businesses.

Step 6 – Have the right facilities

Employers must provide welfare facilities and a healthy working environment, including for those with disabilities,

This includes:

  • The right number of toilets and washbasins, drinking water and somewhere to rest and eat meals.
  • A clean workplace with a reasonable temperature, good ventilation, suitable lighting and the right amount of space and seating.
  • Well-maintained equipment, with no obstructions in floors and traffic routes and windows that can be easily opened and cleaned.

Step 7 – First Aid in Work

Employers and the self- employed must make sure that employees have access to immediate help if ill or injured at work.

Everyone must have:

  1. A suitably stocked first aid kit
  2. An appointed person or people to take charge of first aid
  3. Information for all employees telling them about first aid.

Assessing needs includes the type of work people do, hazards and the risks associated with them, the size and working patterns of your workforce, holidays taken by first aiders and history of accidents in your business. These might also extend to remote, travelling and lone workers, how close your sites are to emergency medical services, whether your employees work on shared or multi- occupancy sites, first aid for non-employees (including members of the public) and support for someone who might be suffering a mental health issue.

Someone should be appointed to manage first aid, including looking after the equipment, facilities and calling emergency services. You can have more than one person and they don’t need to have any formal training. However, they must always be available whenever people are at work.

First aid kits should include:

  • A leaflet with guidance on first aid
  • Individually wrapped sterile plasters of assorted sizes
  • Sterile eye pads
  • Individually wrapped triangular bandages
  • Safety pins
  • Individually wrapped large and medium sterile, unmedicated wound dressings
  • Disposable gloves

This should be regularly checked for expiration dates and to check that items are still in working order. It is also advisable for people who drive a lot to keep a first aid kit in their car.

Simply Learning offers Emergency First Aid at Work training (EFAW), a range of regulated first aid training courses which ensures that first aid can be given to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work. You can see our training courses here.

Step 8 – Display the Law Poster

If you employ anyone you must either display the health and safety law poster where it is easily accessible by your workers or provider each worked with the equivalent health and safety law leaflet. Leaflets are available free from the HSE website (including in large print, easy read and Welsh).

Step 9- Appoint a Competent Person

As an employer, you 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 recognize hazards in your business and put sensible controls in place to manage or mitigate risk.

Although they do not have to have formal qualifications, it can help the safety of your organisation and reduce the time taken in dealing with risks.

You can appoint a consultant if you have a high-risk or complex business.

If you would like to know more about training, please contact us.


How Simply Learning can help

Our health and safety training provides attendees with in-depth knowledge and practical experience, ensuring that they can manage risk, reduce workplace accidents and in some cases save lives.

From protecting your employees’ physical health with courses such as manual handling through to promoting mental wellbeing, we deliver a variety of courses covering many aspects of working life.


Flexible delivery

These courses are essential to many businesses, regardless of industry and as such can be delivered on your premises or at one of our training centres. We also offer a number of supplemental online courses covering asbestos, working at heights and retrofit.

Huge course catalogue

With over 30 courses on offer, we are confident that we can accommodate all of your essential training requirements.

For a full list of current courses please click here.

Benefits beyond training

The benefits of proper training and a dedicated training plan for employees is huge. In addition to the legal aspects of training, additional and supplemental training will also benefit your business. Here’s how:

#1 Increased safety & reduced risk

Whether your training is a legal requirement or not, the more training your teams can undertake, the better it is for increasing safety in the workplace and reducing any potential risks.

#2 Increased satisfaction and motivation

People who have access to quality training are more likely to take ownership for their work and show higher levels of job satisfaction than those who don’t. By training your teams properly you are signalling to them that they are valued.

#3 Employees more likely to collaborate

Employees (or employee representatives) are required to be part of the Health & Safety consultation process. The better they understand the environment that they work in and how to improve Health and Safety procedures, the better their contribution to the consultation process and the better your procedures become.

#4 Better productivity

Less accidents, less time clearing spills, less time off sick due to injury- need we say more?

#5 Instils quality processes and procedures within the business

Happy and healthy people want to stay that way. They will follow quality procedures to keep everyone safe.

#6 Standard operating procedures pass to next generation

If something works, it gets passed on to new starters. Quality Health and Safety procedures means a lifetime of continuous improvement.

Contact us

Our friendly and experienced team is always on hand to answer any questions you might have or help you decide which course is best for your candidates. Please contact us or visit page for more information.