A health and safety policy is a document that sets out how you are managing your health and safety in your workplace. There are 3 key sections to consider when you are drafting your health and safety policy:
- Your statement of intent: this sets out how you intend to manage health and safety in your business, e.g. prevent workplace accidents and ill-health;
- Organisation: this sets out who has specific roles for health and safety e.g. your appointed health and safety person; and
- Arrangements: this is where you explain what you are going to do to meet your duties e.g. how you will ensure staff are competent to carry out their role.
Why do I need it?
You have a duty to have a policy under s2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 as well as Regulation 5 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which requires you as an employer to have arrangements in place for the panning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of your preventative and protective measures as identified from your risk assessments.
In addition, if you have 5 or more employees you must have your policy written down; however it is advisable to have a written record even if you have less than 5 employees. Particularly if you are tendering for work, by having written documentation, it will show your strong commitment to health and safety.
How do I put it together?
Your risk assessments will be your starting point, as this will help you understand the nature of your workplace risks and should help you determine what your health and safety objectives are. The control measures identified from your risk assessments will help you complete the arrangements section of your policy. The Health and Safety Executive have a simple template to help you put your policy together. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all.
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Your business must have a health and safety policy, and if you have fewer than five employees, you don’t have to write anything down.