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Health and Safety Policies and Employers Liability

All businesses employing five or more people must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, by providing a written statement of health and safety policy. This policy must state the overall health and safety policy, describe the arrangements for how the policy is to be carried out by the organisation, be communicated to employees, along with any revisions, which should be made when relevant.

Each company has an individual safety policy with varying detail dependant on the complexity applicable to implementation within the organisation. Every Policy consists of:

Employer Statement

This is a general outlining of the employer's commitment to maintaining health and safety in the workplace. It may reference The Health and Safety at Work etc Act and also encourage employees to assist in the effectiveness of the implementation of the Policy through their cooperation. It should be signed by a senior representative of the company.

Outlining of the Organisation and Implementation

This section will identify those responsible for implementing the health and safety policy within the company. The responsibilities of key people can be set out, especially if it is a big company it is always useful to outline who reports to who, what their health and safety responsibilities are and whether you can report to them in the event of an accident or obtain first aid from them.

Details of the Policy which are to be applied to all

The third section will set out the arrangements that will enforce the health and safety policy for every member of the company as well as visitors to the site. Any rules applying to work activities should be included as well as how to react in the event of an emergency. Procedures should be detailed here along with the necessary arrangements for enforcing them to make sure they are always adhered to.

It is highly important to make sure that all safety personnel and management within the organisation are consulted to make sure they can contribute to the policy, which will then make it clearer and easier to adhere to.

Notifying Employees about a Health and Safety Policy

It is imperative that an organisation informs its employees about their health and safety policy and either provides each employee with a copy or makes copies available on the notice boards. There does however need to be a procedure in place for issuing revised versions when required and also obtaining signatures from employees to prove they have received the policy and have had it explained to them.

A Good Health & Safety Policy Goes Far

The advantages of a good health and safety policy are well documented – company compliance with the law, improved understanding between colleagues and reductions in the amount of work-related accidents are just a handful of them.

Important Points to Include:
A commitment to maintaining health and safety standards.
The names of those individuals responsible for health and safety communications and reviews.
Encouragement for employee cooperation to implement better health and safety standards.
A signature by a senior member of the company to enforce the points laid out in the policy.
An outline of the duties of different health and safety representatives, including who is responsible for reporting and recording accidents, fire safety, first aid, health and safety inspections, training programmes, making sure the company is compliant on all levels through inspections and testing of equipment and so on.
How employees can get involved in work safety procedures themselves.
Specific rules and systems that employees must follow to ensure a safe place of work

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