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Health and safety policy - further information

‚ÄčIf you have five or more employees (including yourself), then you are required by law to have a written health and safety policy document.

What is a health and safety policy?

A health and safety policy is a written document which sets out how you manage health and safety in your company. The policy should contain information on who does what and when and how they do it.

Legal requirements

If you have five or more employees (including yourself), then you are required by law to have a written health and safety policy document.

Contents of a health and safety policy

The policy should contain three broad sections:

  • a statement of general policy with respect to health and safety which should be signed by a senior person within the company (usually a principal or director)
  • the specific responsibilities people have within the company for implementing the general statement of policy
  • the arrangements which the company has in place to address the specific risks associated with its activities

Writing a health and safety policy

A policy is a document which is unique to a business and there is no right or wrong way of preparing it. The important thing is that the document accurately reflects the activities of your business and the arrangements you have in place for managing the risks associated with them.

Further information on preparing a health and safety policy is available in a guidance booklet produced by the Health and Safety Inspectorate.

Guidance on preparing a health and safety policy document for small firms

Assistance in writing a health and safety policy

Ideally, a health and safety policy should be prepared by a person or persons who work for the company as they will often have knowledge of the key risks and how they are being managed.

If you do need further help, then a health and safety consultant should be able to assist you. Details of these are contained in the telephone directory.

Bring it to the attention of your employees

You must ensure that your policy is brought to the attention of all of your employees. It is not necessary to give each of them a copy but they must know where to find a copy of the document if they wish to view it.

Non-English speaking employees

The law requires you to ensure that all of your employees can understand the policy. If your non-English speaking employees can read the document, then this will be sufficient. If they are unable to do so, then you will need to have the document translated into a language which they can understand. 

HSE Books website

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