A Health and Safety Policy forms the basis and structure of any management system, ensuring not only legislation is met, but that guidelines for establishing and implementing programs are enforced. These policies will reduce workplace hazards, protect lives and promote employee health.
The purpose of a Health and Safety Policy is to help reduce the incidence and seriousness of work-related injuries, resulting in fewer accidents, less compensation costs, less down time and increased productivity. A good policy will identify management and employee roles in health and safety, making sure everyone knows their role to play in creating a safe environment.
What should a good Health and Safety policy include?
The Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974 says that a Health & Safety Policy should contain three separate parts:
A ‘Health and Safety Policy Statement of Intent’ (your aims and objectives)
This first part of a company’s Health and Safety Policy is the employer’s Health & Safety Policy Statement (sometimes referred to as the Statement of Intent). This sets out how your organisation intends to manage health and safety issues and meet health and safety requirements. The Health & Safety Policy Statement should contain your organisation’s safety aims (which are not measurable) and objectives (which are measurable).
The organisation of health and safety (who has responsibility for what)
This second part of your Health & Safety Policy document should set out the names, positions and duties of those within your organisation who have specific responsibility for health and safety. It should detail how accountability is fixed so as to ensure that delegated responsibilities are undertaken and also how the policy implementation is monitored. It should also include individual job descriptions, details of specific safety responsibilities and the role and function of the safety officer. A management chart clearly showing the lines of responsibility and accountability in terms of health and safety management is always advisable.
Your arrangements for health and safety (how risks are managed)
The third part, the arrangements section should say how you will meet the commitments you have made in your statement of Health and Safety Policy and should Include information on how you are going to eliminate or reduce the risks of hazards in your workplace.
This part of the policy, in effect deals with the practical arrangements by which the policy will be effectively implemented. These can include safety training, safe systems of work, environmental control, fire safety and prevention, first aid procedures and accident reporting to name a few. The findings of your risk assessments will form the basis of this part.
Keeping health and safety up-to-date is not only a legal requirement – it’s vital to the safety of workplaces. HSG65 is the HSE’s (Health and Safety Executive’s) guide that explains the ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ approach to health and safety management, and a good Health and Safety Policy is part of that plan.
Policies are written based on current regulations and risk assessment findings from the workplace. But regulations, workplace hazards and risk factors are subject to change, so policies should be updated and signed to remain effective and compliant, showing commitment from the company to employees.
For further information on the purpose of a Health and Safety Policy and how we can assist, please contact us here.