Advice to businesses and employees

One of the roles of the Environmental Health teams is to provide advice and guidance to businesses.

Frequently asked about topics:

Risk assessments

A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm.

More information and example risk assessments can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Workplace temperatures

The law does not state a minimum temperature, but the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least 16°C, or 13°C if much of the work is physical.

More information can be found on the temperature pages of the Health and Safety Executive website.

Work breaks and working time

A worker is entitled to an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes when daily working time is more than six hours. It should be a break in working time and should not be taken either at the start, or at the end, of a working day.

Daily rest

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, regulation 10, a worker is entitled to a rest period of 11 consecutive hours rest in each 24 hour period during which he works for his employer. However, there are a number of special circumstances in which the entitlement to rest periods does not apply, for example, where the activities involve a need for continuity of service or production or where there is a foreseeable surge of activity. Also, if a shift worker changes shift, it may not be possible for them to take their full rest entitlement before starting the new pattern of work. In such a case the entitlement to daily and weekly rest does not apply.

Weekly rest

An adult worker is also entitled to one day off a week; this can be averaged over two weeks.

Young or adolescent workers

If a young worker is required to work more than four and a half-hours at a time, then they are entitled to a break of 30 minutes. A young worker is also entitled to twelve uninterrupted hours in each 24-hour period in which they work. Both these entitlements can only be altered or excluded in exceptional circumstances. Young workers are also entitled to two days off each week and this cannot be averaged over two weeks.

More information can be found on the working time pages of the Health and Safety Executive website

Starting a new business

Contact us as soon as you can so that we can discuss your plans and ensure that you have everything in place to make your workplace safe. We are happy to make site visits if necessary. We can also provide leaflets and other guidance to help you.