Need a Health & Safety policy?
In a busy work environment, Health & Safety regulations such as the need for a Health & Safety policy can easily be overlooked – particularly in smaller enterprises where owners juggle multiple priorities.
So, having Ellis Whittam’s Health & Safety support making sure you’re compliant is vital – especially as you otherwise risk more than a costly breach fine – the resulting negative publicity can damage your reputation beyond repair!
If you employ five or more people you’re legally required to have a written Health & Safety policy.
The Health & Safety at Work etc Act (HSWA) 1974 says this policy must contain three separate parts:
- Policy Statement of Intent
- The organisation of Health & Safety
- Arrangements for Health & Safety
Part 1: Policy Statement of Intent
This part should briefly detail organisational Health & Safety aims and objectives. It should also set out how you intend to manage Health & Safety issues.
Clear and simple language should be used so things are readily understood. Regrettably, employers’ statements all too often use non-descript language and are impossible to achieve, for example, stating ‘We will use every means possible to prevent accidents’.
A statement of intent should rather commit to:
- identifying the main hazards and adequately controlling the associated risks
- meeting the HSWA’s requirements
- meeting the additional requirements of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- making sure employees are competent and adequately trained
- consulting employees on Health & Safety issues and giving them the necessary information, training and supervision
- having the resources to achieve the stated objectives
- meeting specific Health & Safety performance targets
Targets importantly indicate your commitment to improving Health & Safety performance and can help motivate staff. Common targets include:
- specifically reducing the number of accidents, incidents and cases of work-related ill health
- reducing sickness absences
- increasing the number of Health & Safety trained employees
- increased reporting of minor accidents and ‘near misses’
- reduced civil claims
- zero enforcement notices
- achieving recognised Health & Safety standards such as OHSAS 18001
The statement of intent should also set out how the policy is to be communicated.
Your policy will need reviewing within 12 months (at the very least) and if required revised.
Part 2: Organisation of Health & Safety
This part should clearly set out the names, positions and duties of those with specific responsibility for Health & Safety.
It should also precisely summarise the duties of employees – namely to take ‘reasonable care’ for their own and others’ Health & Safety.
NB: Non-compliance with the stated duties may be seen by the courts as amounting to negligence.
Part 3: Arrangements for Health & Safety
This part identifies your arrangements for managing and controlling Health & Safety risks.
It should detail the specific systems and procedures used to implement the statement of intent. This will include your organisation’s Health & Safety rules and procedures as well as its facilities such as first aid and washrooms.
This part commonly includes risk assessments (including COSHH, PPE and manual handling). Arrangements for fire and other emergencies and for information, instruction, training and supervision should be included. There should also be information about how particular arrangements are managed.
Arrangements is likely to be the biggest part of your policy. Policies though are not supposed to be longwinded or complicated – yours should simply reflect what you do and how you manage it.
Get Specialist Help
A written Health & Safety policy is the centrepiece of safety management – it should clearly persuade, explain, assign and insist on responsibilities.
In writing a policy, much depends on the organisation and activity – there can be no ‘one size fits all’.
The written policy requirement is, therefore, most onerous.
But if you feel you don’t have the necessary skill, experience or time, then let Ellis Whittam specialists tailor one to suit! (pun intended)
Our Health & Safety specialists can:
- expertly write your policy to keep you fully compliant
- able act as your ‘Competent Person’
- adeptly create your General Risk Assessment
- wholly support you on site in Health & Safety matters
Why Ellis Whittam?
Health & Safety law is complex and constantly changes.
While there are countless Health & Safety companies – ask yourself, what do they know about the law?
Registered occupational safety and health consultants must have a degree level qualification. But rival consultants are typically geography or environmental studies graduates with little or no legal background. In plain English, such qualifications might be labelled ‘Mickey Mouse’ or little more rigorous than advanced colouring-in!
Talk to the Professionals
In stark contrast, Ellis Whittam’s consultants have outstanding relevant qualifications and are vastly experienced. Crucially, many advisers are professionally qualified lawyers with specific industry knowledge.
With a much more suitable skillset, Ellis Whittam’s consultants are best placed to keep your organisation on the right side of the law!
Contact us for more information.