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What is a Health & Safety policy and what should it include?

What is a Health & Safety policy?

A Health & Safety policy is a document that sets out an organisation's commitment to workplace Health & Safety and also addresses the arrangements the organisation has in place to manage risks.

Every organisation with five or more employees in the UK is legally required to have a documented Health & Safety policy, though it is advised that all organisations should have a policy in place.

A Health & Safety policy must be shared with all employees. Most organisations tend to share their policy through the use of online tools such as an Intranet or Document & Policy Storage Tool.

Why is it important to have a Health and Safety policy?

It's imperative to have a Health & Safety policy to mitigate the risk of any workplace accidents and injuries. A workplace Health & Safety policy ensures that:

  • There are no unnecessary risks of damage or injury to the people who work for you or other visitors
  • You and your business is from any negligence, which could result in an employee taking legal action against you
  • Your employees work in compliance with Health & Safety legislation

To ensure that employees are competent to carry out work tasks safely, it's important to provide thorough Health & Safety training. This should identify the key risks and dangers in a workplace, how to reduce these risks and how to work safely.

It's recommended that Health & Safety training is provided every 12 months to refresh employees knowledge and to ensure that Health & Safety goals are met. We provide a library of Health & Safety courses that can be tailored to any industry to ensure that your employees have all of the knowledge to work safely.

What should a Health & Safety policy include?

According to the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA), Health & Safety policies should be broken down into three parts:

  • a 'Statement of Intent' - to establish your organisations Health & Safety goals and objectives
  • Health & Safety Responsibilities (roles and responsibilities within a workplace i.e Fire Warden)
  • Arrangements for Health & Safety (arrangements that are in place for you to reach your Health & Safety goals)

Part 1: Statement of intent

The first part of a Health & Safety policy should state your workplace’s commitment to managing Health & Safety, and how you aim to do so.

A Health & Safety Policy Statement should outline the aims and objectives of your organisation. Health & Safety aims are not measurable, but Health & Safety Objectives are measurable. This section of the Health & Safety policy can be brief and can be broken down into bullet points.

Examples of Health & Safety commitments:

  • Consult employees on Health & Safety objectives
  • Ensure that Health & Safety policy is reviewed regularly
  • Meet the requirements of Health & Safety legislation
  • Ensure that employees have the necessary competency to complete workplace tasks safely

Part 2: Responsibilities

The second part of a Health & Safety policy should list the names, positions, and roles of the people in your business who have a specific duty (or duties) for Health & Safety. For example, your designated Fire Wardens should be listed here. In this section of your Health & Safety Policy, it's important to make each individual's roles and responsibilities clear. 

This can be done by providing an organisational chart that shows hierarchy within seniority with identified persons' roles on this topic as well as directors or managers overseeing supervisors.

Part 3: Arrangements

The final part of an organisation's Health & Safety policy should provide the reader with the details of the practical arrangements that are in place to help you reach your aims. For example, a Health & Safety Training plan could be included here.

Examples of what to include in a Health & Safety policy

What is included in a Health & Safety policy will depend on the industry that you work in. For example, a construction Health & Safety policy will differ from an office policy. Common examples of what to include in a Health & Safety policy include:

  • Health & Safety reporting
  • Health & Safety Codes of Practices
  • Fire evacuation procedures
  • First aid procedures
  • Use of PPE
  • Use of machinery
  • How Health & Safety procedures are monitored (inspections, risk assessments)
  • Policy on drugs and alcohol
  • Health and Safety training process

Online Health & Safety Training

Here at iHASCO, we offer a huge variety of Online Health & Safety Training courses that have been created to help organisations work towards legislative compliance.

The average course duration is just 30 minutes and each training course provides the user with a printable certificate upon completion of the end-of-training test.

Interested in trying the courses in our library? You can receive 24 hours access to our full course library by claiming your free, no-obligation trial using the form below...

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