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Overview of the Health and safety policy

Show a commitment to health and safety within the workplace with a clear health and safety policy. It is important to have in place a clear workplace health and safety policy to protect employees. This policy explains the responsibilities of managers and employees, and deals with key workplace issues such as record keeping, training, equipment, accidents, emergencies, risk assessment, display screen equipment, manual handling and sanctions for non-compliance.

Use this health and safety policy:

  • to comply with the legal requirement to have a written policy on health and safety if you have five employees or more
  • to help meet your legal duty to care for workers' health and safety
  • to ensure that employees are clear about health and safety obligations and rules
  • for employees based in England, Wales or Scotland

This health and safety policy covers:

  • collective responsibility for health and safety matters
  • employer's responsibilities, such as providing a healthy and safe workplace, taking steps to reduce or eliminate risks, providing suitable and maintained equipment and provide relevant staff training
  • employee's responsibilities, such as taking care of their own and others' health and safety at work, following safety instructions, using equipment correctly, reporting problems quickly and correctly and co-operating with the employer on health and safety matters
  • risk assessments, display screen equipment and manual handling
  • consequences of employee non-compliance

A health and safety policy is a written statement that sets out how an employer ensures that the workplace is a safe environment to work in. This includes providing a safe place of work, safe access to work, safe systems of work, safe equipment, safe and competent fellow workers and protection from risks of injury. It informs individuals of their duties relating to health and safety at work and the steps they need to take to fulfil those duties.

It is a legal requirement to have a written health and safety policy if your organisation employs more than five employees. Having a health and safety policy helps to inform staff of what to do in an emergency and the steps to take to prevent unnecessary risks of injury. It also demonstrates that the employer takes its health and safety responsibilities seriously and shows good employment practice.

Employers have the duty to consult with their employees, or their representatives on health and safety matters. However, workers have a duty to take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions at work. Therefore, workers must cooperate with employers and co-workers to help everyone meet their legal requirements.

This document allows you to appoint a health and safety representative or nominate an individual to have overall responsibility. It also allows you to specify who will have the day-to-day responsibility for health and safety and be the contact point for certain information.

This policy sets out the responsibilities of employees relating to: equipment; first aid; accidents; national health alerts; emergency evacuation; fire and emergency procedures. It also sets out the employer's responsibilities of ensuring the safety of their employees.

As a part of managing the health and safety of your business, you must control the risks in your workplace. To conduct a risk assessment you must think about what might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent harm. This process is known as risk assessment and is normally implemented based on each individual circumstances and should be made visible to all of your employees.

If an employee fails to comply with health and safety policy, he or she may be subject to serious consequences such as disciplinary action in accordance with any disciplinary policy, including immediate dismissal.

If an employer fails to comply with health and safety requirements, there can be serious consequences - both for organisations and individuals. Sanctions include fines, disqualification and imprisonment.

Ask a lawyer for advice:

  • if the employees are based outside England, Wales or Soctland
  • if you do not intend to provide in full what is drafted in this policy

Other names for Health and safety policy

Health and safety statement.