Health and safety policy and risk assessment
A health and safety policy is a documented account of how a business will effectively manage and ensure (as far as is reasonably practicable) the health, safety and welfare of its employees and others who are not its employees, whilst they are at work. The Policy should be specific to the work activities that the business undertakes and details who does what, and when and how they do it.
The policy consists of three parts:
- Statement: This is a commitment in which the employer acknowledges his/her responsibility to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other persons not in their employment whilst carrying out their work.
- Organisation: This describes how the business will identify how it can effectively manage not only the general aspects of day to day health and safety but also at which level/s in the organisation and to whom specific health and safety responsibilities are given.
- Arrangements: This section is how the business will identify and allocate adequate resources both in terms of financial and physical commitment to ensure successful management of health and safety at the workplace. Information, instruction, training, supervision, monitoring and review of the policy are all essential if the policy is to be effective and meet the employer’s pledges.
What is the governing legislation?
The Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 places duties on all individuals at the workplace from the employer to the employee, the self-employed and others such as designers, manufacturers, importers and those in control of premises. The act is supplemented by detailed regulations, codes of practice and guidance.
Does this mean that every employer must have a policy?
Section 2 (3) of The Health and Safety At Work 1974 only requires employers with 5 or more employees to prepare a written statement of their policy, organisation and arrangements for health and safety at work. However it is often good practice to record these matters anyway and the process does help to think about and control risks in a logical way.
Workplace Risk Assessments
The fundamental cornerstone of an organisation’s health and safety arrangements is the identification of potentially hazardous areas and activities together with the health and safety risks to people involved in each of those areas and activities, having regard to health and safety law (The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Regulation 3).
Risk assessment is the process whereby hazards are identified on site. The likelihood of the hazard resulting in harm is then assessed for each of the hazards. The amount of risk can then be used to prioritise controls which will reduce the risk of injury.
Once the hazards have been identified, the first consideration is to determine whether it is possible to remove the hazard completely. Where it is not possible to remove the hazard completely then it must be controlled.
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) stipulate a 5 step approach to risk assessment:
- identifying the hazards
- who might be harmed and how
- evaluating the risks and deciding on precautions taking into account the legal requirements
- recording the findings and implementing them
- reviewing the assessment and updating as necessary.
Our Clients would receive a comprehensive report detailing the recommended risk improvements with timescales for completion including all relevant risk assessments and a Risk Assessment Register.
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