Date: 2 November 2012

A radical revamp of the way small businesses access official advice about health and safety online has been launched.

The new Health and Safety Toolbox is the latest in a package of online guidance, bringing together in one place everything a small, low-risk business could need to manage health and safety. Written with busy firms in mind, it makes it easy to find relevant guidance on specific risks with a few clicks of the mouse.

It builds on Health and Safety Made Simple which provides sufficient basic information for large numbers of low risk businesses.

The package of guidance – developed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) with the support of businesses – will help business owners and employers avoid wasting precious time reading what they don’t need to, wasting money on unnecessary bureaucracy or resorting to hiring costly consultants.

Judith Hackitt, the HSE Chair, said:

“This package is everything small and low risk businesses could need to manage health and safety, online and free.

“It will help businesses save time and money by getting them focusing on the real risks, guiding them to what is relevant for them and steering them away from what’s not.

“By going online and working through it for themselves, for free, we hope low-risk SMEs will realise that they don’t need expensive consultancy or reams of paperwork to manage their responsibilities. It is of no benefit to businesses or workers if over the top precautions are introduced.”

Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said:

“Small and low risk businesses should be focusing their time on growing and becoming a success not having to waste precious time and money on unnecessary bureaucracy. This Toolbox will make it quick and simple for businesses to discover everything they need to know about health and safety.”

Mary Boughton, Chairman of the Health, Safety & Risk Management Policy Unit at the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“The FSB welcomes the HSE’s work to simplify guidance and make it appropriate for low-risk businesses.

“The Toolbox should give small, low-risk businesses the information that they need in a simple and easy to use way without asking them to read through reams of guidance.

“It is important that health and safety regulations are risk-based and as simple to comply with as possible.”

Quick, simple guides and interactive tools on how to identify, assess and control common workplace hazards have been pulled together for the first time. Core health and safety issues relating to the type of business, its workforce and workplace are set out more simply then ever before.

Sections on the most common risks – such as manual handling, trip hazards and harmful substances – as well as tips on protective equipment are set out in plain English.

The Toolbox and Health and Safety Made Simple are part of HSE’s work to make it simpler and clearer for businesses to understand, manage and control workplace risks. A full review of all HSE’s written guidance is also being carried out.

To get started follow the prompts on the right of the new-look homepage of HSE’s website at www.hse.gov.uk