The law in the UK says that every business must have a policy for managing health and safety.
A health and safety policy sets out your general approach to health and safety. It explains how you, as an employer, will manage health and safety in your business. It should clearly say who does what, when and how.
If you have five or more employees, you must write your policy down. If you have fewer than five employees you do not have to write anything down, but it is useful to do so.
You must share the policy, and any changes to it, with your employees.
3 Actions for Your Health and Safety Policy
Your policy should cover 3 areas.
Part 1: Statement of intent
State your general policy on health and safety at work, including your commitment to managing health and safety and your aims. As the employer or most senior person in the company, you should sign it and review it regularly.
Part 2: Responsibilities for health and safety
List the names, positions and roles of the people in your business who have specific responsibility for health and safety.
Part 3: Arrangements for health and safety
Give details of the practical arrangements you have in place, showing how you will achieve your health and safety policy aims. This could include, for example, doing a risk assessment, training employees and using safety signs or equipment.
The legal requirement to write a health and safety policy is included in the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations explain the steps you must take to manage health and safety.
If this quick-guide on how to write a health and safety policy wasn’t sufficient or don’t have time to do this for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for some further help.
Health and Safety Policy Template
To help you get started, you can download our health and safety template bundle, which provides you with free, editable method statement, risk assessment, accident/incident, incident investigation and health and safety policy templates.
Be sure to check our online courses, we are providing a free online Risk Assessment course for you and your employees.
Safeti School Transcipt
Welcome to Safeti School. Where we crunch down health safetyand environment learning into simple bite-sized snippets that you can use for your business or your career. Helping you improve your knowledge, boost your performanceand maybe even providing some inspiration.Let’s get started.
You’re very welcome to another episode of Safeti School with myself Richard Collins your host.And today we’re going to take a very quick look at the needand requirement for a health and safety policy for businesses inthe UK. Just to put it into some contextas to why we would actually be concerned about this in the first place.
Going back to one of our earlier episodes on the health and safety at work act, which is obviously going back around 50 years at this point.It does state and it is still in place to say that if you’ve more than five employees,you must have a written health and safety policy statement and that should be specific to your business.
That should set out your general policy for protecting the health and safety of your employees. Also, a little bit about your arrangements for putting that into practice. So that gives us a bit of a context as to why we should be concerned.
Even if you don’t have five employees,it will be good practice just to write that down. Take a record of it. As I’m sure you would agree, a policy that isn’t recorded anywhere isn’t worth a whole lot. It’s very difficult to prove to anyone that it is the case. So just bear that in mind, if you do have a small business.
The health and safety policy as I said there, it should just set out your general approach to Health and Safety. Fundamentally for smaller businesses, it really acts as a mini-management system outline.
As you would have with big systems like ISO 45001, which is now the the newest version of the the health and safety management standard. This is a smaller version of it really and what the health and safety executive are wanting you to do is explain how you as an employer will manage H&S in your business and set out clearly who does what when and how they actually do it.
For larger businesses, the health and safety policy doesn’t need to include as much information and as more of a position statement to outline how you approach health and safety. You can mention of course your management system and the different means by which you meet your goalsand objectives.
Outlining what those G’s and O’s and your within your particular business. If you are a smaller company,there’s certain things that the health and safety executive ask you to include in your health and safety policy. It doesn’t need to be complicated either.
Once you do have that done you must be able to communicate it properly with your employees. Traditionally a lot of businesses would just post them on the wall in a communal area or perhaps send them out by email and so on. There’s many different ways you can do that and I certainly encourage you to have a discussion with your employees and teams.
Or, if you’re changing your policy or reviewing it then it might be a good time on a yearly basis to get all of your employees together.
To go through it and have a have an open chat about it and to get some feedback. That’s entirely up to you whichever way you want to approach that.
3 Actions for your Health and Safety Policy
So let’s break down the three elements that the health and safety executive are asking for you to include a Health and safety policy. Number one is your statement of intent.
So in simple terms,this is just really stating what your general policy on health and safety at work is and that will include your overall intent and were you want to be in terms of health and safety.
And also, what I would suggest including there is some specific aims and objectives that relate to your company. So you might want to pull out some targets for looking at a near-miss reporting or health and safety concerns for example.
You may want to target zero accidents and which many businesses would aim for. It’s entirely up to you but something that’s specific and achievable is really the goal here and something you can actually use to strive for. Then base the rest of your arrangements around those goals.
The second part of the policy expectation here from the HSE is outlining the responsibilities for health and safety and were they specifically lie within your organization. You can list names but I would suggest it may be better just to leave those out and go for positions or roles within the company.
So actually looking at whichever members of staff are helping you execute and who’s got responsibility for implementing certain activities. That can be anyone from people on the shop floor to health and safety professionals, project managers. Even your site directors can be involved in whichever responsibilities that are applicable, depending on what you delegate.
Just make sure that that’s clearly outlined and it gives a good overview of where responsibilities lie.
Part 3 then is to give details on this specific practical arrangements that you have in place.For example that you’re carrying out risk assessments on some of the work that you’re doing. That you’re giving training to employees that are exposed to high risk activities.
Maybe you only use a certain type of equipment that affords special protection to your staff that are carrying particular activities. Or you have some Safety Systems in place in the buildings that you’re using to reduce the amount of risk that people are exposed to and so on. It can be really anything that you feel is appropriate and specific to managing health and safety.
It’s really up to you to decide what is important. Only include where the significant actions are just as you would in a risk assessment with the significant risks. I would suggest just keeping it at a fairly high level so that if anyone asks they can dig further into it whilst getting a good overview of what it is you’re actually doing to proactively manage health and safety in your business.
If you are working in the UK would recommend taking a look at the management of health and safety at work regulations, which gives more of a breakdown. They were brought in in the 1990s and give you a breakdown of some of the steps that you actually have to take to manage health and safety.
It will help you when it comes to actually developing your policies that are relevant to your business.
Also keep an eye out on some of the upcoming episodes and safeti school here,which we’ll be covering some of that.If you’re not listening to this episode directly from the safeti.com website.
I will leave a link to the blog post where you can go and look at a couple of examples of health and safety policy statements,which we have put on for you there to download. To give you an idea of how that should be laid out.
Okay, that’s it for this one. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to join us here on safeti school. Hopefully,we’ll catch you again soon. That’s it for this episode of Safeti School.
We hope this was helpful. If so,please remember to rate, review and subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Google podcasts or Spotify. And remember, for more health safety and environment help, you can visit us at Safeti.com. Until next time,take care.