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How to compile a health and safety policy

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QualityZoneBy 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 in place for putting that policy into practice.

The Health & Safety Executive have produced a free leaflet called Stating your business:Guidance on preparing a health and safety policy document for small firms INDG324.

click here to download a copy of INDG

This document contains a statement of general policy based on your legal duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and sections in which to record your organisational responsibilities and your arrangements to ensure the health and safety of your employees. In addition, it also contains notes and references for further information and may be used as a template in order for you to develop your own policy.

INDG 324 outlines the following areas to be covered in the statement:

  • Health and safety policy statement – Statement of general policy, signed and dated;

  • Responsibilities – overall, day-to-day, specific areas;

  • Health and safety risks arising from our work activities – what they are, action needed to remove / control, who is responsible, time for review;

  • Consultation with employees – who are the employee representatives, who provides consultation;

  • Safe plant and equipment – who is responsible for identifying when maintenance is needed, who draws up maintenance procedures, who to report problems to, who purchases new equipment;

  • Safe handling and use of substances – who identifies hazardous substances, who is responsible for undertaking COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations) assessments, informing employees, reviewing assessments;

  • Information, instruction and supervision – where is the health and safety law poster displayed or who issues the equivalent leaflets, who supervises and trains new recruits and young workers

  • Competency for tasks and training – who provides induction training, job specific training, keeps training records

  • Accidents, first aid and work related ill health – who requires, arranges and keep records of health surveillance, where is the first aid equipment stored, who is the appointed person / first aider, who keeps records, who reports under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations);

  • Monitoring – who monitors conditions and safe working practices, who investigates accidents and work-related sickness;

  • Emergency procedures: fire and evacuation – who carries out fire risk assessments, how often are the following checked: escape routes, fire extinguishers, alarms, evacuation procedures.

The policy statement 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 (e.g. annually).

click here to link to the HSE website

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