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Setting up a business involves complying with a range of legal requirements. Find out which ones apply to you and your new enterprise.

What particular regulations do specific types of business (such as a hotel, or a printer, or a taxi firm) need to follow? We explain some of the key legal issues to consider for 200 types of business.

While poor governance can bring serious legal consequences, the law can also protect business owners and managers and help to prevent conflict.

Whether you want to raise finance, join forces with someone else, buy or sell a business, it pays to be aware of the legal implications.

From pay, hours and time off to discipline, grievance and hiring and firing employees, find out about your legal responsibilities as an employer.

Marketing matters. Marketing drives sales for businesses of all sizes by ensuring that customers think of their brand when they want to buy.

Commercial disputes can prove time-consuming, stressful and expensive, but having robust legal agreements can help to prevent them from occurring.

Whether your business owns or rents premises, your legal liabilities can be substantial. Commercial property law is complex, but you can avoid common pitfalls.

With information and sound advice, living up to your legal responsibilities to safeguard your employees, customers and visitors need not be difficult or costly.

As information technology continues to evolve, legislation must also change. It affects everything from data protection and online selling to internet policies for employees.

Intellectual property (IP) isn't solely relevant to larger businesses or those involved in developing innovative new products: all products have IP.

Knowing how and when you plan to sell or relinquish control of your business can help you to make better decisions and achieve the best possible outcome.

From bereavement, wills, inheritance, separation and divorce to selling a house, personal injury and traffic offences, learn more about your personal legal rights.

Carrying out health and safety risk assessments - checklist

 

A risk assessment identifies the risks posed by your workplace, practices and processes. A risk assessment helps you identify, eliminate or reduce those risks

  • Ask the Health & Safety Executive, your local council, or your local business support organisation for their guidance information on how to carry out a risk assessment.
  • Check the particular legal requirements for your industry, and business generally, and the supplier instructions for the materials and equipment you use.
  • Decide whether you have the experience and training to carry out the risk assessment or whether you need specialist help.
  • Consider all the people who could be at risk - employees, sub-contractors, visitors, members of the public - and whether they might be particularly vulnerable (eg people with disabilities).
  • Inspect your premises and processes to identify possible and actual health and safety risks.
  • Be aware of all potential liabilities - not least in dealing with members of the public.
  • Check insurance arrangements against potential liabilities.
  • Look for possible accidents - where people might trip, collide or fall, or where unstable objects could fall on them.
  • Check all the common hazards - electrical installations, machinery and vehicles, hazardous substances, lifting and carrying, slips and trips and any hazards particular to your business.
  • Check for long-term health risks such as poor lighting and ventilation, noise and dust, and badly designed workstations.
  • Ask employees what problems and risks they are aware of; check your accident and illness records.
  • Evaluate the scale of each risk - how likely it is to cause a problem, how many people it could affect, and how seriously.
  • Check whether existing precautions reduce risks as far as reasonably possible and whether they meet industry standards.
  • Take action to remove risks altogether where possible; failing that, control them with suitable systems, procedures and training.
  • Minimise exposure to hazards and provide protective equipment and clothing when other controls are unworkable or insufficient on their own.
  • Keep a written record of your risk assessment and safety precautions.
  • Communicate the processes and procedures that staff must follow to remain safe.
  • Regularly monitor safety and review incident records; review your risk assessment periodically and whenever circumstances change.

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