Writing a health and safety policy
Your business must have a health and safety policy, and if you have fewer than five employees, you don't have to write anything down.
Most businesses set out their policy in three sections:
- The statement of general policy on health and safety at work sets out your commitment to managing health and safety effectively, and what you want to achieve
- The responsibility section sets out who is responsible for specific actions
- The arrangements section contains the detail of what you are going to do in practice to achieve the aims set out in your statement of health and safety policy
The arrangements section should say how you will meet the commitments you have made in your statement of health and safety policy. Include information on how you are going to eliminate or reduce the risks of hazards in your workplace.
What do we mean by 'hazard' and 'risk'?
A hazard is something in your business that could cause harm to people, such as chemicals, electricity and working at height. A risk is the chance – however large or small – that a hazard could cause harm.
The additional actions you take to manage health and safety should be set out in the arrangements section of your policy. They could include:
- staff training
- using signs to highlight risks
- improved safety equipment, such as guards or additional personal protective equipment, including goggles, safety boots or high-visibility clothing
- replacing hazardous chemicals with less harmful alternatives
- improved lighting
- anti-slip flooring
Focus your attention on the activities that could present a risk to people or cause serious harm.