There are 12 key areas that EVERY business needs to manage to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare of their employees whilst at work.

The third section of a health and safety policy outlines short policies on how to deal with these hazards which probably affect your business, it’s users and your employees on a daily basis.

Now for those of you that believe a one page policy statement is all you need, or that you don’t need a policy because you employ less than 5 people, I would just like to explain why a full health and safety policy is a better option for your business.

The Health and Safety at Work Act states those employing less than 5 people don’t need a Written health and safety policy statement.  This means it doesn’t have to be written down.  It doesn’t mean you can have total disregard for health and safety.  You need a plan to manage the risks within your business.

The easiest way to demonstrate this is to have a written policy.  It is difficult to prove your good intent to manage health and safety verbally after an event, particularly an event where someone is injured.

A one page, signed health and safety policy statement is certainly better than nothing.  It also costs nothing, you can download one here.  But by writing down how you intend to manage the health and safety risks within your business will go a long way with the Enforcing Authorities, the claims handlers and courts. 

So, What Are The 12 Health and Safety Hazards?

  • Electricity at Work

  • Fire

  • Hazardous Substances

  • Work Equipment

  • Manual Handling

  • Sub-Contractors

  • Asbestos

  • Display Screen Equipment

  • Stress

  • Violence and Bullying

  • Drugs and Alcohol

  • Working at Height

Managing the 11 hazards listed above in a pro-active manner will ensure that if an accident does happen, you have proof that you had a plan in place to manage the risk.

To further support your plea, including more pro-active arrangements into your policy will also work in your favour, particularly in Personal Injury Claims.

The 11 Pro-Active Arrangements to Boost Your Health and Safety Policy

  • Accident Management

  • First Aid

  • Personal Protective Equipment

  • Risk Assessment

  • Workplace Inspections

  • Welfare Arrangements

  • Business Travel

  • Expectant, New and Nursing Mothers

  • Young Persons

  • Training

What Level of Detail is Needed?

Each subject needs to be addressed to show 

  • What the Risks are
  • What Control Measures are in place to reduce the risk
  • How the Risks and Controls are monitored
  • What records are kept
  • How information is passed to employees about the risk
  • What instruction is given to implement the controls
  • How statutory legislation relating to the risk is met ie. how the requirements of the Manual Handling regulations are met within your business.

Each of the 22 points above, becomes it’s own little policy on that specific topic.  This is useful when your clients ask for say, your Drugs and Alcohol policy.  Rather than have a file of policies, you’ve got one health and safety policy which includes a page on Drugs and Alcohol.

But Here’s a Warning – A Policy Can Turn Against You

One policy does not fit all.

In fact, not only can a policy not specific to your business not work in favour of your company, it can bring you down if it says something in it that you are clearly not doing.

For example, you may buy a policy “off the shelf” and it may state that you will use tower scaffolds for accessing heights.  In your business you may only use stepladders.  But because your policy says one thing  and you are doing another, you are giving an Inspector rope you hang you.

So, if you do choose a download policy you need to tailor it to your needs.

When we take on a new client, they are required to fill out a Factfind Document for this reason.  It is so we can re-write sections of our standard policy to make sure it fits your business.

We also only take on a limited number of member clients each month so we can give their business the time and attention needed to get their health and safety documents right.  There is more information about this here.

What You Need To DO Next

  • Identify the Risks in Your Business
  • State what Control Measures are in place to reduce the risk
  • Detail how the Risks and Controls are monitored
  • Decide what records are kept to support your policy
  • Detail what information is passed to employees about the risk
  • Detail what instruction is given to implement the controls
  • State how statutory legislation relating to the risk is met ie. how the requirements of the Manual Handling regulations are met within your business.

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