Health and Safety – Policy Guidance for small business
Managing health and safety is an essential part of running a business. You must comply with the law and to do this you should put together a health and safety policy statement.
HSE have produced an in-depth and excellent Guide and template which anyone can follow and use.
We have included it in this article as a download.
What is a health and safety policy statement?
Your health and safety policy statement sets out how you manage health and safety in your organisation.
It is a unique document that shows who does what and when and how they do it.
Below is an example of a policy statement from HSE which you are free to use. You can use it in the existing format or rebrand it however you wish.
Download HSE HS Policy Statement and guide
Why do you need a health and safety policy statement?
The health and safety policy statement is your starting point to managing health and safety in the workplace. By law, (Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974 section 2(3)) if you employ five or more people you must have a written health and safety policy.
This contains your statement of general policy on health and safety at work and the organisation and arrangements for putting that policy into practice.
Writing a policy statement is not just a legal requirement, it is your commitment to planning and managing health and safety.
It’s the key to achieving acceptable standards, reducing accidents and cases of work-related ill health.
It shows your employees you care for their health and safety.
Who should do what?
With very few exceptions, the responsibility for health and safety rests on you as an employer.
However, many day-to-day tasks can be delegated. Your statement should show clearly how these tasks are allocated, but remember you will still have ultimate responsibility.
You should consult your employees about the policy statement. Everyone should be able to see from the policy statement exactly who is responsible for different things, such as advice, reporting an accident and first aid.
When and how should they do it?
Your policy statement should describe your arrangements, ie the systems and procedures you have in place for ensuring employees health and safety.
You may wish to refer to other documents eg works’ rules, safety checklists, training programmes, emergency instructions, etc.
All employees may not need to see all the other documents, but they must see the policy statement itself.
How often do I need to revise the policy statement?
It should be reviewed and possibly revised in the light of experience, or because of operational or organisational changes. It is useful to review the policy regularly (eg annually).
Do I have to do anything else?
Yes, you have other legal duties under other legislation. In particular, under the management of health and safety at work regulations 1999, you have to assess the risks arising from your work activities record and the significant findings.
You must also record your arrangements for health and safety.
Depending on your type of work, there may be other specific legislation that will apply.
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