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Online tool launched to debunk small business owners’ fears over what health and safety law requires them to do

Safe Start Up – a website created by Leicestershire-based Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) – is a step-by-step guide that demystifies regulation for anyone setting up a small business. The simple tool, launched yesterday (Wednesday 31 October), walks people through the areas of health and safety they need to consider, in order to comply with the law and keep people healthy and safe.

So far, five occupations that are often set up as small businesses are available – hairdressing, floristry, complementary therapist, landscape gardeners and building contractor – but more are being continuously added to the site.

IOSH research and information services manager Jane White said: "When we speak to businesses we often get the message that they are worried about what health and safety law requires them to do. But in reality, for most, it’s actually quite simple and this website is about making regulation friendlier for SMEs and budding entrepreneurs.

"We’ve spelt out what the requirements are and how to meet them, answering many other concerns about health and safety they may have. It will mean business owners are able to have more confidence in their ability to keep themselves, their employees, their customers, and anyone else who comes into contact with their company safe."

Safe Start Up goes live as part of ‘Better Business for All’ – an initiative from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), set up in Leicestershire, to respond to the Government’s priority of reducing regulatory burden on business. The whole scheme was launched today at the LEP Network Shared Learning Summit, in Birmingham.

‘Better Business for All’ is aimed specifically at business start ups, providing a website where entrepreneurs can find guidance, advice, tools and resources to help demystify a host of regulations associated with setting up a company, fostering growth in the process.

And IOSH, based in Wigston, has written the health and safety section* of the project, with guidance on the law and what it requires, to uncover many of the myths associated with health and safety.

Jane added: "Health and safety can sometimes get unfairly tarnished with the opinion that it’s a burden. But small businesses with fewer staff find lost-time due to work-related injury and ill-health very costly, as productivity dramatically reduces. So it makes sense to get health and safety right, help their business thrive."

The website is available at www.iosh.co.uk/safestartup.

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