Guide

Legal requirements for tourism businesses

Health and safety in tourism businesses

As a tourist accommodation provider, you are responsible for health and safety of your guests whilst they are on your premises.

Your health and safety obligations extend to not only to guests, but to anyone on your premises, including staff. 

For more general guidance on health and safety, see health and safety.

Keeping your guests safe

You have a 'duty of care' to guests and other visitors. You must make sure that premises are reasonably safe for purpose.. If you don’t take precautions to ensure reasonable safety of the premises, you can be sued for compensation or prosecuted.

To make premises 'reasonably safe', you should take common sense precautions such as:

  • remove risks and obstructions that may cause your guests to slip, trip or fall (eg wet floor, loose cables, clutter on stairs, etc)
  • make sure furnishings are fit for purpose and secure 
  • ensure electrical appliances are safe to use
  • make your guests aware of your emergency procedures 
  • consider all your guests and their needs (eg children, disabled guests etc.) 

If certain parts of your premises, such as the kitchen or the store room, are clearly marked out of bounds to guests, your duty of care may not extend to these areas.

You may be held liable for accidents caused as a result of the actions of your staff or other guests. However, your guests also have a duty to take care of their own safety. If they have an accident due to their own negligence, or while doing something you wouldn’t reasonably expect them to do, your liability for the accident may be reduced or overridden.

As part of your health and safety responsibilities, you will need to report certain accidents involving your guests or staff. See first aid, accidents and ill health in the workplace.

Staff health and safety

For on outline of your health and safety duties to your staff, see employer’s health and safety responsibilities - an overview.

You are also legally required to have insurance to cover your liability for any bodily injury or disease sustained by an employee at work. See liability insurance.

Whilst it’s not a legal requirement, you should consider taking out additional insurance to cover your liability to your guests. See public liability insurance.

If a guest or a member of your staff has made a claim against you, you should seek legal advice. Find a solicitor.