Introduction to Health and Safety

Health and safety is an important aspect of employing Personal Assistants. The moment a person is employed as a Personal Assistant, their Employer is responsible for their health, safety and welfare at work.

Health and safety also applies to people who work in the home such as self-employed PAs, agency staff or contractors.

What do PA Employers need to do?

  • Firstly, you need to do a risk assessment. Employers have a legal duty to protect their Personal Assistants from harm. A risk assessment should identify what could cause injury or illness (hazards), decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk) and take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk
  • Secondly, you must make your Personal Assistant(s) aware of the risk assessment through the induction process
  • Thirdly, you must make sure that your Personal Assistant(s) are trained to use equipment, to enable them to work in a safe manner.

Normally your Employer’s Liability Insurance will require that you do a risk assessment, to minimise the risk that a Personal Assistant could make a claim against you.

Risk Assessments

To help you do a risk assessment, you can take a look at the leaflet ‘Steps Needed to Manage Risk’ link in the Resources section below.

The five steps are:

  • identify the hazards
  • decide who may be harmed and how
  • think about the risks and how you can reduce or prevent them
  • record your findings and implement them
  • review your risk assessment and update if necessary.

In identifying the hazards you should consider the following:

  • in what areas of your home will the PA work?
  • will the PA need to assist you to move around your home?
  • are there hazards outside the home?
  • will the PA work outside the home?
  • will the PA be using your car or their car to transport you?
  • will the PA be assisting you with mobility inside or outside the home?
  • will the PA be expected to lift anything heavy?
  • what type of equipment will the PA use – is this mechanical or electrical?
  • will the PA be cooking for you?
  • are there any pets or animals in your home that may present a risk to your PA?
  • don’t forget to include smoking as a hazard if you are a smoker.

When you are thinking about who may be harmed, this could include:

  • the PA(s)
  • the person being supported (if this is someone different from yourself)
  • any other members of your family and friends who may be affected by what the PA does
  • any other visitors who may come to the home, eg. social work, support providers etc.

Once the risks are identified, write these on a risk assessment form so you can show what action is in place to prevent any harm from the hazard and also what precautions need to be taken to minimise the risk.

You will have to show how the risks can be reduced, and who by. Normally the aim is to eliminate the risk by removing it from the premises. But where this is not possible you will have to make sure that the people affected by the hazard are trained in how to avoid the risk of injury or harm.

You will have to keep training records to provide evidence that training has taken pace and the PA is aware of their responsibility to work in a safe manner.

Health and Safety Training

Health and safety training is an important responsibility for PA Employers.

You must show that you have trained your PA(s) in Health and Safety matters on their first day of employment. It is not a task which can be done later, because if that person has an accident on their first day and training has not been carried out, you could be liable for prosecution depending on the seriousness and likelihood of the accident.

As well as general training on Health and Safety you will need to have some simple documents listing all the equipment the PA will be required to use. This is to demonstrate that training has been given, and that the PA is able to use the equipment safely.

Next steps

Check out the Resources below for further guidance on Health and Safety and completing a risk assessment.

Part of
Last Updated
28 February 2024
First Published
28 March 2022
Was this article helpful?



Please note that the information contained in this Handbook is provided for guidance purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by Self Directed Support Scotland or any other contributing party.

The information does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal and professional advice from a lawyer about employment law matters, or an accountant/ tax specialist about taxation matters, and from HMRC and your insurers. You should not rely solely on the information in this Handbook. Support organisations listed in this Handbook can help you find appropriate sources of advice.