Your business must have a health and safety policy. If you have 5 or more employees you need to have a written policy – by law.
A health and safety policy defines how a business will manage their tasks and workplace(s) in a safe manner, ensuring that any hazards are mitigated or controlled and individuals are unharmed.
But don’t worry, a health and safety policy statement of intent is NOT a health and safety policy (which is a lot more involved and something I’ll cover another day).
Your health and safety policy statement is simply a document that outlines your company’s aims and objectives for managing health and safety in the workplace.
Your business’ policy statement is an opportunity for the senior director(s) or manager(s) to outline their commitment to health and safety and show their leadership from the top.
What is should your health and safety policy statement be?
Your policy statement should be:
- Brief! No need for waffling.
- Written with clear, jargon-free language and broken down into bullet points or separate sections for ease of reading.
Signed by the most senior employee in the company, i.e. the managing director.
- Make it specific for your business. If you need help from a consultant, they should be working with you to ensure the statement reflects your business correctly.
- Be displayed in prominent places in the workplace (on health and safety noticeboards if you have them) and communicated to all employees – i.e. in induction training, refresher training, ‘toolbox talks’ etc.
- Reviewed regularly. Your policy statement should be reviewed at least once a year or when changes in legislation or in your business mean it is no longer reflects your business.
What should be included?
When drafting your policy statement, here are some suggestions on what to consider and include:
- Your business aims and objectives for health and safety.
- Include an outline of your basic commitments to the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Here are some examples: to provide and maintain a working environment where accidents are not expected to occur; to provide suitable welfare facilities, such as toilets, washing facilities and drinking water; to consult with employees on a day to day basis about health and safety conditions; to provide adequate information and training to ensure employees are competent to do their work. You need to take into account major hazards and risks as your aims will reflect these.
- Measurable objectives. This includes specific performance targets for health and safety such as: a reduction in the number of accidents/incidents/sickness absences, improved audit scores, achievement of national health and safety standards by gaining accreditation to one of the SSIP accreditation schemes, achieve OHSAS 18001.
- The name and position of the most senior employee of the company responsible for health and safety.
- The names of the health and safety advisor/manager, employee representatives.
- The general duties of employees.
- The names of employees responsible for ensuring implementation of each of your aims and objectives.
Need some help?
Hopefully the above has given you some things to think about.
If you have any questions or need help in creating a new policy, reviewing or updating your existing policy; get in touch today. Call us on 01257 444 447.
Have a good day,