How Do You Put a Sensible Health & Safety Policy together?

Does your organisation employ five people or more? If so, you are legally obliged to have a written health and safety policy. Here are some guidelines on creating one.

A written policy both shows your commitment to health and safety in the workplace, and informs people in your business about how you intend to deal with key health and safety issues. The policy should also identify who is responsible for what area.

Your health and safety policy needs three sections:

  • Policy statement – this sets out your commitment to effectively managing health and safety
  • Responsibilities – here you will note who is responsible for specific actions
  • Arrangements – this part goes into more detail on what you will do in practice to achieve the aims of your statement

Policy Statement

Sometimes called the ‘general statement of intent’, the statement should set out your commitment to health and safety in your company. Be clear about what you aim to achieve to ensure the health and safety of anyone affected by your work, which could include employees and customers, through to visiting clients and contractors.

Your policy statement should set out how you plan to manage health and safety across different areas of your business. Mention your key safety aims and goals, such as having representatives for certain areas, and ensuring people have the relevant training.

The statement must also explain how you will communicate your policy, either by giving copies to employees, uploading to the staff intranet, or by any other means. Finally, the owner or manager of the business should sign the statement.

Responsibilities Section

This section needs to specify who is responsible for certain areas of health and safety in your company, identifying their different roles and responsibilities. Smaller businesses may only need one individual.

For instance, you would need to name the representative for first aid or fire emergencies, as well as the person responsible for health and safety in the warehouse. You may also need to conduct risk assessments or checks on equipment used, and that individual needs to be named here too.

It’s important that the policy statement clearly points out that everyone in your company has a responsibility for their own safety and that of their colleagues, under health and safety legislation.

Arrangements Section

The final part of your policy is usually the largest section where you detail what you will do to achieve the aims set out in your statement. Include information on how you will eliminate or reduce the risks of hazards in your workplace in areas that affect your staff, customers or clients, and contractors.

hazard is something that could cause harm to people, such as chemicals, electricity, or working at height. A risk is the chance – however large or small – that a hazard could cause harm.

Arrangements will vary depending on your business. For instance, carrying out regular checks and fitting signage for the safety of electrical equipment. You may need to specify what first-aid procedures you have in place, and policies on driving company vehicles. Staff training can be included, as well as reference to improved safety equipment, or replacing hazardous chemicals with less harmful alternatives.

To ensure that your policy is correct in the event of a HSE (Health and Safety Executive) inspector needing to check it, make sure that:

  • It’s simple to understand
  • Everyone listed in the policy knows and understands their responsibilities
  • It accurately details what you will actually do. For instance, if you plan to carry out inspections every three months, don’t say monthly inspections
  • All staff and new starters have access to a copy of the policy, as well as key people outside of your business
  • The policy is reviewed at least annually, or when a business change could affect your staff
  • It is signed and dated every 12 months

We Can Help With Health and Safety Policies

Quadriga’s team of experts will help you to develop and monitor your health and safety policies. For more information, please contact us on 0118 929 9920 or click here to email us.

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