Health and safety policy template7 min read
Our health and safety policy prioritises employee well-being, ensures legal compliance, and fosters a culture of safety in a proactive and accountable manner.
What is a Health and safety policy?
The purpose of a health and safety policy is to outline an organisation's commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for its employees, customers, and any other individuals affected by its operations. It serves as a written statement that communicates the organization's objectives, responsibilities, and procedures related to health and safety management.
The key purposes of a health and safety policy are:
Ensuring Legal Compliance: A health and safety policy helps an organisation comply with applicable laws, regulations, and standards related to workplace health and safety. It establishes a framework for meeting legal requirements and minimising the risk of non-compliance.
Demonstrating Commitment: By having a health and safety policy, an organization demonstrates its commitment to prioritising the well-being of its employees and others. It conveys a clear message that the organization values safety and is dedicated to providing a healthy work environment.
Setting Objectives and Goals: The policy sets out the organisation's health and safety objectives, such as reducing accidents, preventing work-related illnesses, and promoting a culture of safety. It also establishes measurable targets and goals that guide the organisation's efforts in improving health and safety performance.
Assigning Responsibilities: The health and safety policy identifies the roles and responsibilities of individuals within the organization regarding health and safety matters. It clarifies who is accountable for specific tasks and ensures that everyone understands their obligations in maintaining a safe workplace.
Providing Guidelines and Procedures: The policy serves as a reference document that outlines the procedures, guidelines, and best practices for various aspects of health and safety. It provides employees with clear instructions on how to perform their work safely, use protective equipment, report hazards, and handle emergencies.
Promoting a Safety Culture: A health and safety policy fosters a culture of safety within the organisation. It encourages employees to prioritize their well-being and the well-being of others, promotes open communication about safety concerns, and supports continuous improvement in health and safety performance.
Supporting Risk Management: The policy helps identify potential hazards, assess risks, and implement control measures to mitigate those risks. It provides a framework for identifying hazards, conducting risk assessments, and implementing appropriate preventive measures to minimise the likelihood of accidents, injuries, and occupational illnesses.
Overall, a health and safety policy is a fundamental document that guides an organisation's efforts in promoting and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. It communicates the organisation's commitment to safety, outlines responsibilities, and provides a framework for managing health and safety effectively.
What legal and best practice aspects should employers be aware of?
Here are some key UK employment legislations that support the implementation of a health and safety policy:
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974: Provides the legal framework for workplace health and safety, outlining the general duties of employers, employees, and others in relation to health and safety.
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999: Requires employers to assess and manage risks to employees and others affected by their activities, and to implement appropriate control measures.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH): Sets out requirements for the control of substances that are hazardous to health, including the assessment, prevention, and control of exposure to such substances.
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR): Requires employers to report specified workplace accidents, occupational diseases, and dangerous occurrences to the relevant enforcing authority.
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER): Places duties on employers to ensure that work equipment is suitable, maintained, and used safely, and that employees are adequately trained and informed about its use.
Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPE): Specifies requirements for the selection, use, and maintenance of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect employees against workplace hazards.
Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations 1992: Covers a wide range of health, safety, and welfare issues in the workplace, including ventilation, lighting, temperature, cleanliness, and facilities for rest and meals.
Equality Act 2010: Requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that employees with disabilities are not put at a substantial disadvantage and have equal access to health and safety measures.
Health and safety Policy
This policy sets out [Company]’s commitment on Health and Safety. It also outlines responsibilities and duties and explains arrangements for maintaining a safe working environment.
This policy is applicable to all employees of [company name].
Statement of Intent
[Company] has a legal obligation to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all employees at work.
We have a duty to ensure the safety of any equipment in use and the safety of our premises and, so far as practicable, to ensure that neither staff nor the general public are exposed to risks to their health and safety.
[Company] will comply with all current health and safety legislation, codes of practice and other authoritative guidance.
[Company] requires its entire staff to co-operate in establishing and maintaining safe and healthy working conditions and to avoid any action which may adversely affect the health, safety and welfare of themselves or others.
Ultimate responsibility for Health and Safety rests with the [CEO | Managing Director]. However each manager has a duty to take care of the health, safety and welfare of their staff and to report and investigate any accident or incident to prevent a recurrence.
Equally all employees have a responsibility to take care of their own health and safety and that of the people they work with.
Coordination of day to day health and safety is the responsibility of [name]. Anything likely to represent a hazard should be reported to [him/her] immediately.
Premises must be kept hazard free and maintained in good order with fire exits free from obstruction and with efficient fire extinguishers and fire alarms (tested at regular intervals).
The organisation recognises the importance of employee participation and engagement in matters related to health and safety. To ensure effective communication, collaboration, and the involvement of employees in health and safety decision-making, the following consultation process with Health and Safety Representatives or Trade Unions will be implemented:
Appointment of Health and Safety Representatives
The organisation will appoint Health and Safety Representatives from among its employees or in accordance with the recognised trade unions. These representatives will serve as the primary point of contact for health and safety matters and will act on behalf of employees in consultations with management.
Regular Consultation Meetings
Consultation meetings will be held at regular intervals to discuss health and safety issues, review policies and procedures, and exchange information between management and Health and Safety Representatives or trade unions. The frequency of these meetings will be determined based on the nature of the organisation's operations and the level of employee involvement required.
Training and Support
Health and Safety Representatives or trade unions will be provided with appropriate training, resources, and support to effectively carry out their roles and responsibilities. This may include training on health and safety legislation, risk assessment techniques, and effective communication and consultation practices.
Regular risk assessments of the office including individual work stations will be carried out by [name]. Records will be kept of risk assessments and of actions taken.
Those employees who use a computer screen on a regular basis for more than two hours per day are formally classed as “DSE Users”. All “Users” have the right to request an eyesight test. [Company] will reimburse a reasonable amount for the cost of these tests.
All visitors must sign the Visitors’ Book. Measures should be taken to ensure that visitors are also signed out. In the event of the fire alarm sounding, staff who have invited visitors into the building will take responsibility for their safe evacuation being reported to the [name].
All portable electrical equipment is tested annually. All items carry identity labels and date of test. The tests are carried out by a competent contractor to meet the requirements of the maintenance of portable electrical equipment, as required by law.
First Aid boxes are located as follows:
An accident book is located [details].
All gangways, fire escape routes and fire exits must be kept clear at all times.
In the event of fire
Anyone discovering a fire should:
- Sound the alarms (all staff should know where alarms are located).
- Notify [name], who will call the Fire Brigade. Notify other occupants of the building if possible.
- If the alarm goes off, remember that human life has priority over everything else and the main objective is to get everyone out of the building immediately.
- Fire extinguishers are located in [details]. Please only use these if you are trained to do so. Serious fire fighting must be left to the Fire Brigade, and only the simplest problem, e.g. a wastepaper basket on fire, should be tackled by staff.
- On hearing fire alarms, staff should proceed in an orderly fashion to the nearest fire exit. Do not run. The building should not be re-entered until you have been advised it is safe to do so.
Practice fire drills are carried out during the year; sometimes these will be announced beforehand.
It is the policy of [Company] that our workplaces are smoke free, and all employees have the right to work in a smoke free environment. The policy has been developed to protect employees, customers and visitors from exposure to second-hand smoke and to assist in complying with relevant legislation.
Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed and substantially enclosed premises in the workplace, and any outside areas adjoining the entrance to the premises. This policy applies to all employees, consultants, contractors, customers and visitors to [Company] premises.
Any employee who smokes whilst on [Company] premises will be committing a criminal offence and liable to a fine as a result. They may also be subject to disciplinary action.
[Company] acknowledges that some employees may wish to make use of electronic cigarettes ("e-cigarettes") in the workplace, particularly as an aid to giving up smoking. E-cigarettes are battery-powered products that release a visible vapour that contains liquid nicotine that is inhaled by the user.
[Although they fall outside the scope of smoke-free legislation, [Company] prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace.
Our rationale for a ban on e-cigarettes is that:
- although they do not produce smoke, e-cigarettes produce a vapour that could provide an annoyance or health risk to other employees;
- some e-cigarette models can, particularly from a distance, look like real cigarettes, making a smoking ban difficult to police, and creating an impression for [visitors/customers/other employees] that it is acceptable to smoke.]
As they fall outside the scope of smoke-free legislation, [Company] allows employees to use e-cigarettes in [the workplace/certain designated areas], [provided that they get the prior agreement from [name of individual/their manager.] ]]
Alcohol and drugs
Any employee who is found consuming or under the influence of, alcohol when reporting for duty or during the working day (including lunch and break times) may be subject to disciplinary action or even dismissal as [Company] deems this to be a gross misconduct offence under the Disciplinary Procedure.
Any employee who is found in possession of, taking or under the influence of drugs or other controlled substances including psychoactive substances (formally known as “legal highs”) when reporting for duty or during the working day including lunch and break times may be subject to disciplinary action or even dismissal as [Company] deems this to be a gross misconduct offence under the Disciplinary Procedure.
Dispensing, distributing, selling or offering to buy controlled substances at work is strictly prohibited and will lead to disciplinary action. Any such activity (or reasonable suspicion of it) on [Company] premises will be reported immediately to the police.
Working from home
While [Company] maintains overall responsibility for health and safety of employees regardless of their working location, those employees working from home have particular individual responsibility to ensure they are working in a safe environment.
If you work from home, you should conduct a risk assessment on your working area looking at the following:
- Space – do you have sufficient space around your workstation?
- Lighting – do you have sufficient lighting available?
- Chair – do you have a comfortable and supportive chair?
- Work surface – do you have a table or other working surface at a comfortable height?
- Screen – Is your screen at eye level?
- Electrical appliances – are they safe, tested and are cables suitably tucked away?
A risk assessment form for home working can be provided on request. Should you identify any risks that you are not able to remove, please let us know.
Issue date: [date]
Author: [name, job title]
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