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Knowledge Share: What exactly is a Health and Safety Policy?

May 16, 2023

Many small businesses or firms know that they should have a Health and Safety Policy, but we are often asked, ‘What is a Health and Safety Policy and why do we need one?’ So we thought, lets put a blog together to make it clear!

A health and safety policy is a written document that outlines how an organisation will manage health and safety in the workplace. I often say to clients, imagine that it is a manual of how to manage safety in your business which someone could read and clearly understand what needs to happen to manage safety.

It should be a document that clearly explains how legal duties are met and how you will keep your team safe from harm. As for why do you have to have one, it’s simple, it is a legal requirement.

 A written health and safety policy should include the following three sections

  1. A health and safety policy statement of intent which includes the health and safety aims and objectives of the organisation.
  2. The health and safety organisation detailing the people with specific health and safety responsibilities and their duties.
  3. The health and safety arrangements that are in place regarding systems and procedures.

In many respects, for a simple organisation in particular, a health and safety policy is quite an easy document. As a company grows and the work activities become more complex, the arrangements for managing health and safety may become more complex. Despite the size of an organisation, the requirements for managing safety remain the same. You must keep everyone impacted by work activity safe, whether that is the worker, a young person or a visitor to a premises. The general principles of writing a health and safety policy are the same whether you run a school, a church or a construction company. What changes, is the way you arrange and manage the specific risks you encounter.

A general health and safety policy should cover some or all of the following items for example:

  • Risk assessments
  • Consultation with employees
  • Maintaining plant and equipment
  • Safe handling and use of substances
  • Emergency procedures
  • First aid arrangements
  • Accident reporting procedures
  • Training requirements
  • Monitoring arrangements

Who can write a Health and Safety Policy?

A Health and Safety Policy should be written by a competent person who understands health and safety management. You do not necessarily have to be a fully qualified health and safety practitioner, but you should have knowledge, training and experience of safety to write it. If you require assistance putting a Health and Safety Policy together, you can always contact JCH Safety for help with this task.

JCH Safety are a chartered health and safety consultancy based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. We specialise in helping small to medium sized businesses and schools across Coventry and Warwickshire to manage health and safety. We are also third party accredited fire risk assessors. If you require any assistance with health and safety, or fire risk assessments, we would love you to get in touch!

We work for schools, colleges, contractors, pubs, hotels, warehousing and logistics firms, manufacturers and retailers. If you need help, feel free to ask!

Consultancy – fire risk assessments – online training