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Safe & Legal
In this section we will provide you with a range of health and safety information that will help you to understand the legal position, to demonstrate best practice and to protect your business and your customers. This covers the following subjects:
- Risk Assessment and Method Statements (RAMS)
- Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
- Food Hygiene
- Trading Standards
- Data Protection
- Containment of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)
Risk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS)
By law you are required to carry out a risk assessment on your business, and landlords will expect you to have a written risk assessment specific to their premises in order to allow you to set up.
You need to think step by step about your installation and what you will be doing once on-site and trading, this is your method statement. Your risk assessment should identify where there is a significant risk that any of these activities, or your product or equipment, might cause harm to the general public or staff and decide what controls, equipment or staff training you can put in place to protect people.
You should consider the risk of fire as part of your assessment. Depending on your activity, you may be asked to write a separate fire risk assessment.
For most low-risk businesses controlling risk is straightforward. The Health and Safety Executive has a website with lots of useful information and this is worth a visit at www.hse.gov.uk/risk
In order to make a start and help you to understand just how straightforward and logical the process is, we have created risk assessment and method statement templates for shopping centre or retail park activity and these are available to download by clicking the link below. The information you enter into the document can only come from you as you know your business better than anyone else, but if you require any help on venue or location-specific information, please contact us.
We also have a set of guidelines for the main activities that take place in our venues, and these are available to download by clicking on the following:
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
Portable appliance testing (PAT) is the term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use. The test is not a legal requirement, although you do have a responsibility to ensure that your equipment is safe. PAT testing provides evidence that your equipment has been tested by a competent person; this would usually be an electrician who can then provide the necessary paperwork.
Most landlords will require evidence that an electrical item that is to be used in their venues has been checked within the last year and we will ask for PAT test certificates in advance. Sometimes, the equipment is also checked when you are setting up and so the relevant certification or stickers must be with or on the appliance.
You can find more information on the Health and Safety Executive website:
If you are selling food items, whether prepared on or off the premises, you will need to ensure that staff and managers are adequately trained and that you have a management system in place for staff to follow and that this is being adhered to.
You should register your business with the local council who, depending on your product and location, may require you to purchase a licence to trade.
Inspections and spot checks will be carried out by the local authorities and notices issued if they are unhappy with any element of your business, food management including hygiene, or signage/food labelling. There are penalties for non-compliance and, of course, the risk to your business is significant if someone is harmed or made ill.
An excellent hygiene rating is an achievement that you should shout about.
There are some very good trade associations who can provide support in the form of advice, insurance and training, whether you are new to the food industry or experienced. Asset Space works closely with The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS). If you would like more information on what this organisation can offer please go to https://www.ncass.org.uk or contact them direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the regulations surround food hygiene, please visit https://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/guidancenotes
If you are selling product of any kind, you must ensure that it conforms to the relevant trading legislation and your product has been tested to the right standards. The Trading Standards Agency will carry out spot-checks and it is important to be compliant.
You will also need to consider the legal position in dealing with consumers, what notices you must display by law, how to deal with complaints etc. This will vary widely depending on your industry but you will find the trading standards website helpful in giving specific information for your particular product or service.
If you collect customer information, such as name, address, email, telephone number and/or you employ staff, there are laws that govern how you store and handle their personal data. You may need to register your business with the Information Commissioners Organisation (ICO), but there is a helpful questionnaire on their website and the results of this will give you an immediate answer. For further information see the following websites.
Containment of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)
If you use any chemicals, whether for cleaning or to do with making your product or carrying out your business you will need to demonstrate that these are stored securely and how you will minimise the risk of harming anyone. You can do this as part of your risk assessment.
Some landlords may ask for COSHH certification for these products and these should be available from the manufacturer or your supplier.
Things do go wrong occasionally no matter how well you manage risk in your business and that is what insurance is for.
The main business insurances that you will need are:
• Public liability (PLI)*
• Employer’s liability if you employ staff
• Product insurance to cover your equipment and stock
You may also want to consider other types of insurance and we would recommend that you seek the advice of a broker or trade organisation that specialises in your area of business.
* Landlords will always require evidence that you have public liability insurance in place to at least £5m. This can easily be obtained from an insurance company, broker or trade organisation but you do need to ensure that you have told your insurer what you do and where you carry out your business. Otherwise you may not be covered in the event of a claim.
The following organisations provide PLI, but an internet search will also give you a number of insurance companies and brokers who may be able to provide specific advice on insurance for your business.