Blue hard hat on a desk

The importance of updating your health and safety policy

10 February 2020
Whilst change can be an exciting time in your business, it can also bring about new risks. New processes and equipment or changes to procedures can add hazards to your company that could increase the chances of a member of your team suffering from an injury or ill health.
Because of this, you will need to ensure that your health and safety policy is up to date to protect your team. Take a look at our guidance on how you can ensure that your health and safety policy is fit for your business.

Speak to your team

As these are the people who are likely to be using the equipment or following the processes, they are the ones who will need to understand what the changes are and why they are being made. They are also the team on the ground, so may be able to provide an insight into how these processes or equipment work in practice, to make sure that your new policy is thorough.

The HSE found that when businesses consult their employees on health and safety matters there tends to be lower accident rates, better control of risks and a happier working environment.

Appoint a competent health and safety team member

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises that you appoint someone with relevant skills and experience to maintain health and safety at your business. This would be someone who has experience of health and safety concerns in your business and doesn’t necessarily have to have a qualification to be considered competent, just knowledge of the risks of your industry and how to mitigate or eliminate them.

You should also bear in mind that if your business has 5 or more employees, you must have a risk assessment by law, so choosing someone to manage and maintain your health and safety policy to protect your team is essential.

Perform regular reviews

Have health and safety at the forefront of your mind by scheduling in regular reviews of your health and safety policy to ensure that it is up to date. When performing these reviews, think of the changes that have happened in your business since the last review. It might be that there have been no changes or even changes that have removed processes or equipment, in which case these can be removed from your health and safety policy.

Our partners, Citation, outline why Health & Safety handbooks are important and what they should include.

Health & Safety handbooks are a crucial part of ensuring your business and employees’ safety. They provide clear, documented communication. This means that neither employers or employees can act without claiming to know what the other is accountable for.

They are also great tools for driving Health & Safety engagement and cultural uptake of safety around your business, as well as providing a written point of reference.

The handbook should include sections such as:

  • A table of contents: breaking down what the document will include by item, title and page number
  • Amendment record: for making note of any changes made to the Health & Safety handbook after the date of its inception
  • Safety management structure: ensuring everyone knows where issues need to be escalated to, and who holds responsibility for residing areas
  • Employee and employee responsibilities: this section should cover off things like management responsibilities, employee responsibilities, employee obligations and sub-contractor and self-employer personnel responsibilities

The final section of your handbook is where employees are required to acknowledge that they’ve received, read and understood the contents of the document. In addition, their signature also acts as their agreement to comply with the rules set out in your handbook.

You should request the following details: name, signature, date and email address.

Available to their clients, Citation’s online management platform – Atlas – allows all of the above to be done electronically.

About our partner, Citation

Citation provides expert Health & Safety support including a 24-7 advice line, dedicated local consultant and full legal documentation, including a detailed Health & Safety policy and 100s of module templates and resources.

Better still, Premierline customers can get 10% off their services. Find out more here, or call to speak to a friendly advisor; just mention you’re from Premierline when you’re enquiring to claim your discount.

Source: Zywave Inc. - Risk Insights: Updating Your Workplace Health and Safety Policy

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