It is a legal requirement for all businesses that have over four employees to have a health and safety policy. All employees working for the company should be able to access it and many employers provide a copy of it when hiring an individual and also have one on file.
A health and safety policy is vital not only for businesses but also for any organization or institution. It allows individuals to understand how health and safety issues are dealt with and the measurements in place should a problem arise.
The Steps Involved
There are a number of steps that need to be followed in order to write a clear and effective health and safety policy:
* Firstly, you must carry out a thorough risk assessment of the workplace. You need to look out for any health and safety hazards. This refers not only to the physical environment but also the possible risks associated with any tasks carried out by employees. You need to consider ways in which any health and safety issues can either be reduced or eradicated.
* Conduct research to know how workplaces similar to your own have created their health and safety policy. This will provide you with a clear picture of how you can go about it.
* When you start to write up your policy, begin it with a ‘Statement of Intent’. This clarifies your commitment to health and safety within your workplace. This should state:
* that you are committed to making sure that any employee, customer or individual who is affected by the activities within your business is safe
* the name of the main person responsible for the company’s health and safety
* the names of employees involved with any health and safety issues
* that all employees need to care for their own safety and that of others
* that all legal implications have been recognized and will be adhered to
* that actions have been taken to ensure the policy is followed
* You will need to provide a layout of how the business is organized. This includes details of which employee does what within the company, including the main employees responsible for any health and safety issues.
* You will also need to specify what actions, systems and procedures have been put in place to make sure that the commitment is adhered to.
* When compiling the health and safety policy, you should make sure that local regulations and laws have been followed.
* Provide a list of health services which can be used if necessary.
In conjunction with the policy, an employee handbook should be produced. This must clearly specify all health and safety issues which employees should be aware of. As with the policy, this should be regularly reviewed to ensure that it is kept up-to-date.
A health and safety policy is a written commitment by the management towards the health and safety of employees, whether in the workplace or another organization. It is important to ensure that measures are put in place to reduce and prevent accidents and work related illnesses.