Health & Safety Policy - Factors To Consider
If you are an employer, or you are responsible for your company’s health and safety policy, you may be concerned that writing the policy is going to be complicated. However, it is essential that you have one. In fact, if there are more than five employees there must be a written policy.
Benefits of a Health and Safety policy
Having good health and safety practices as well as a policy in place will help to protect employees from injury and illness. It can also protect the business from being subjected to compensation claims; providing you can show evidence that you were taking the necessary health and safety precautionary measures.
For the period 2015/2016 an estimated 621,000 employees sustained a non-fatal injury at work (source: HSE), while 200,000 of these instances led to over 3 days of absence. As well as having a duty of care and genuine concern for the team, good health and safety management can help to reduce injury related absences.
How to develop a good Health and Safety policy
When you are developing your policy, it might help to use three overarching sections:
A statement on the company’s policy for health and safety in the workplace, outlining the company’s commitment and what you want to achieve through the policy.
A list of responsibilities e.g. whether there is a H&S Manager and if so, what their responsibilities are; what role HR or team leaders play in H&S (if any) and the individual responsibilities of every employee.
The details around what arrangements are in place or which processes will be followed to make the policy work successfully.
Communicating the policy
There is no point developing a good quality, detailed health and safety policy if it is just going to sit in a drawer. The policy should be well communicated and shared with employees through an intranet or employee handbook so that the team can access it at any time. This is a really key driver in making the policy effective.
To enable employees to follow the right course of action in a H&S related scenario, the policy should include up to date contact and escalation details. Some of these key contacts may be:
- The facilities management team
- First aid trained staff
- Security team
The policy must be reviewed and updated if necessary to keep all of the content and contacts fully up to date. The policy should also include key information like what to do in the event of a fire, information on when a risk assessment is required and how to order protective equipment.
It is also a good idea to conduct training on the H&S essentials and include an assessment so that there is evidence that the information has been well communicated and understood by employees.
Supporting information and resources
The Health and Safety Law poster must be displayed, even if you only have one employee and you can order this directly from the HSE site. On the website, you will also find some very useful supporting documents, such as a health and safety policy template and a health and safety policy example.