What is a Safety Statement?
The Safety Statement represents a commitment to their safety and health. It should state how the employer will ensure their safety and health and state the resources necessary to maintain and review safety and health laws and standards.
The Safety Statement should influence all work activities, including:
- the selection of competent people, equipment and materials
- the way work is done
- how goods and services are designed and provided
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires that an organisation produce a written programme to safeguard:
- the safety and health of employees while they work
- the safety and health of other people who might be at the workplace, including customers, visitors and members of the public
Writing your Safety Statement
It is essential to write down the Safety Statement and put in place the arrangements needed to implement and monitor it.
The Safety Statement must be made available to staff, and anyone else, showing that hazards have been identified and the risks assessed and eliminated or controlled.
Finding Safety Statement Information
The Safety Statement can refer to a multitude of guidance documents and specific procedures or codes of practice. These documents might include:
- Health and Safety Authority Publications on Safety Statements and Risk Assessments for specific work sectors. See the HSA Publications
- Authority produced Codes of Practice, Guidance and Information Sheets where available.
- manufacturer’s instructions for work equipment and machines
- Company operating instructions and procedures
Safety Statement and Risk Assessment
This process has a practical purpose. It will help employers and other duty holders to manage employees’ safety and health, and get the balance right between the size of any safety and health problems and what has to be done about them. This is because the system must be risk-based.
The required safety measures must be proportionate to the real risks involved and must be adequate to eliminate, control or minimise the risk of injury. The system must involve consultation between the employer and his/her employees, who are required by law to cooperate with the employer in the safety-management process.
Safety Statement Communication
The employer must ensure that the contents of the Safety Statement, which includes the Risk Assessments, is brought to the attention of all employees and others at the workplace who may be exposed to any risks covered by the Safety Statement.
In particular, all new employees must be made aware of the Safety Statement when they start work. The Statement must be in a form and language that they all understand.
Other people may be exposed to a specific risk dealt with in the Safety Statement and the Statement should be brought to their attention. These people could include:
- outside contractors who do cleaning, maintenance or building work
- temporary workers
- delivery people who stack their goods in the premises and come in contact with activities there
- self-employed people who provide a service for the employer
When should Safety Statements be reviewed?
Once you have completed and recorded your risk assessment, it’s time to decide and determine when your risk assessment will need a review. There is no set frequency for when risk assessments should be reviewed.
Therefore, you should make a decision that’s appropriate for the risk profile of your business. There are certain times when it’s more obvious that the risk assessment should be looked at and reviewed.
Examples of when Safety Statements should be reviewed:
Here are just a few common examples;
- Changed or new process that’s been introduced into your workspace
- New plant, equipment or machinery that’s been purchased for example there may be
- New employees or contractors that have joined your workforce that need to be considered
- You may have had a recent near miss, incident or accident, in which case risk assessment/s may need reviewed and/or updated
Depending on your business risk profile, industry & regulatory standards and internal management systems, it may also make sense to have a regular review of your risk assessments e.g every 12 months. Any frequency should be based on the nature of the operations and should be specific to each activity and/or organisation.
The purpose of this would be to make sure that you have not missed anything new or significant that could present a risk to employees, or others. This type of regular oversight is often complimented by other safeguards such as a management of change (MoC) process.
What is a competent person?
According to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, a person is deemed to be a competent person where having regard to the task he or she is required to perform and taking account of the size or hazards (or both of them) of the undertaking or establishment in which he or she undertakes work, the person possesses –
- sufficient training,
- and knowledge appropriate to the nature of the work to be undertaken.
Can I use a generic Safety Statement?
The short answer is; No.
Under Section 20 of the Act every employer is required to prepare a Safety Statement for his/her own place of work based on the identification of the hazards and the Risk Assessment carried out under Section 19 of the 2005 Act.
This Safety Statement specifies the manner in which the safety, health and welfare at work of his or her employees shall be secured and managed. This Safety Statement is specific and unique to each place of work.
An employer using a generic Safety Statement would not be compliant with Sections 19 and 20 of the 2005 Act.
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