Workplace safety should be focused on by every business, no matter its size. However, many business owners are still unsure of their responsibilities. If you’re one of them, take the time to read through this quick and easy guide to health and safety policies.
All businesses should really have a policy, but this becomes a legal necessity if you have five or more employees. In such situations, the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act requires a written health and safety policy.
This must contain the following:
- Policy Statement: This is essentially an expression of your commitment to ensuring that all employees are protected from harm while at work.
- Organisational Chart: A graph which plainly displays the businesses’ structure, clearly distinguishing various levels of seniority.
- Responsibilities: Acknowledges the individual health and safety responsibilities of all employees or employee groups.
- Arrangements: This is the largest and most detailed section of your health and safety policy. It will lay out everything done for health and safety purposes, covering things such as fire and first aid arrangements, the proper handling of any potentially harmful materials, training, drills, and risk management work.
In order to be considered legal, your health and safety policy must be signed and dated by the company’s most senior member.
One other area where businesses tend to face confusion is training. The 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act requires you to provide all relevant information, instruction, training, and supervision required to ensure the health and safety of employees, and the 1999 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations expanded those rules, meaning that you must also identify situations in which training or retraining is most important. It is illegal for training to occur outside of working hours, and it must come at no cost to your employees.
If you haven’t drawn up a health and safety policy, make sure you contact an employment lawyer today. They will be able to make you aware of the regulations which pertain to your particular industry, and will then help you develop an effective policy.