Common Health and Safety Legislation

Health & Safety

You will need to maintain a high standard of hygiene as well as health and safety, not only for yourself but also for your employees, clients and any visitors to your business.

It is a legal requirement for employees to display an approved health and safety poster or to provide employees with an equivalent leaflet or information.

All businesses are required by law to comply with the following acts, which are monitored and managed by The Health & Safety Executive (HSE). You should also get copies of the following regulations from your local council or off the HSE website.

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

This protects your rights as an employer or employee. The law states that the employer must provide a safe working environment, provide health and safety training for staff, produce a written policy of the company’s health and safety policy and ensure that anyone on their premises is not exposed to any health or safety risks.

Trade Descriptions Act (1968 and 1972)

These Acts prohibit the use of false descriptions of goods or services. The information must always be accurate, false comparisons must not be made, and misleading price comparisons must not be made. A product may not be described as being of a ‘reduced’ price if it has not been available at a higher price for a minimum of 28 days.

General Data Protection Regulation GDPR 2018

If you are collecting and storing personal data as a therapist, then you will need to comply with GDPR. You will need to decide which of the six lawful bases on which you will collect and store personal data and inform your clients of how and why you will retain their data and for how long. The Independent Commissioners Office will provide you with all relevant information.

Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994

This states that goods must be as described and of satisfactory quality. They should be fit for purpose and safe for use. It is the responsibility of the retailer to correct a problem where the goods are not as described.

COSHH Regulations and Risk Assessment (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) 2002

COSHH regulations cover the essential requirements for controlling exposure to hazardous substances, and for protecting people who may be affected by them. You should carry out a COSHH assessment to identify all chemicals, products or other substances which could cause harm.

A substance is considered to be hazardous if it can cause harm to the body. It poses a risk if it is inhaled, ingested, in contact with the skin, absorbed through the skin, injected into the body or introduced to the body through cuts.

Always check the ingredients and instructions of all products to see what they contain and ensure they are correctly stored. If the product could cause harm, it should be listed on your COSHH assessment, together with what the risk is and who is at risk from it.

Next, decide on the degree of risk and who to minimise that risk. If you can, try to replace high-risk products with lower risk ones. Never leave chemicals identified as hazardous in areas accessible to the general public. Do not forget, COSHH substances include both those used for treatments and cleaning.

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982

A special treatment licence will be required if you carry out any form of massage, electrolysis or ear piercing and tattooing as they may produce blood and body tissue fluid. Each borough council in the UK has different requirements, so you should contact them to see whether they require you to hold a licence for the treatments you offer.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Employers should make formal arrangements for maintaining and improving safe working conditions and practices. This includes competency training and risk assessments.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

This is relevant wherever manual lifting occurs to prevent skeletal and muscular disorders. The employer should undertake a risk assessment for all activities involving manual lifting.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 2022

This requires employers to identify activities which require special protective clothing, which must then be made available.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992

This covers the use of display screens and computer screens. This specifies the acceptable levels of radiation emissions from the screen, as well as identifying the correct posture and the number of rest periods.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1992

Electrical items are potentially hazardous and should be used and maintained properly. You should always ensure that you are fully trained on a piece of equipment before operating it.

All electrical equipment should be regularly PAT tested to ensure it is safe to use. If any equipment is deemed to be faulty or unsafe, you should stop using it immediately and report the problem. Make sure the equipment is clearly marked as faulty until the problem has been corrected to avoid it being used by other members of staff.

Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

Whatever the size of your business, you should always make sure you have a First Aid kit on-site, as well as an eyewash bottle. You should ensure this is fully stocked at all times. You should have at least one ‘Appointed Person’ on hand to take charge in an emergency who holds an HSE-approved basic first aid qualification. You can contact the HSE on 0845 345 0055 for a list of suitable training providers.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013

These regulations are commonly referred to as RIDDOR, and their main purpose is to alert the enforcing authorities to incidents and causes of ill health that may need further investigation. Their second role is to collate statistics and to assist in the implementation of initiatives to reduce accidents in the workplace.

If any of your employees or trainees suffer a personal injury at work that results in either;

  • Major Injury
  • Death

Employers should report any such cases to the HSE Incident Contact Centre. This includes loss of sight, amputation, fracture and electric shock. In all cases where a personal injury of any type occurs, it should be recorded in an accident book.

Incident Contact Centre- 0845 3009923.

Less serious injuries have to be reported using form F2508 available on the HSE website. Less serious injuries include:

  • More than 24 hours in a hospital
  • Incapacity for more than 7 days.

Other incidences that are reportable include:

  • A member of the public or client is injured and admitted to hospital.
  • Any member of staff that is injured due to an act of violence that is work-related.

All records of injuries, minor or major, must be recorded in your accident book.

Further guidance can be found on the HSE website

Reporting Accidents

All accidents and near misses should be recorded in an Accident Report Book, which should be kept with a first aid kit on the premises.

The following information must be recorded:

  • Full name and address of the person(s) involved in the accident.
  • Circumstances of the accident.
  • Date and time of the accident.
  • All details of what may have contributed to the accident.
  • The type of injury that occurred and treatment provided on or off-site.
  • Details of any witnesses.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 2005

All premises must have adequate means of dealing with a fire, and all members of staff should know where these are. This can include fire extinguishers and blankets; however, you should only operate a fire extinguisher if you have been properly trained to do so. All equipment should be checked and maintained regularly.

Fire Drill notices should be clearly displayed and should inform people of what to do in case of a fire. All staff should be trained in the location of alarms, exits and meeting points.

Consumer Protection Act 1987

This Act aims to protect the customer from unsafe or defective services or products. All staff should be trained in using and maintaining products.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

This states the duties of any users of the equipment. It identifies the requirements in selecting and maintaining suitable equipment, as well as the training and safe use of it.

Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2008

These regulations require that cosmetics and toiletries are safe for their intended purpose and comply with labelling requirements.

The Equality Act 2010

Gives disabled people important rights of access to everyday services. Service providers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to premises or to the way they provide a service. Sometimes it just takes minor changes to make a service accessible. What is considered a reasonable adjustment for a large business such as a bank, may be different from what is a reasonable adjustment for a small local salon. It is about what is practical in the service provider’s individual situation and what resources the business may have. They will not be required to make adjustments that are not reasonable because they are unaffordable or impractical.