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Keeping the Docs in order

Businesses that have five or more employees must have a health and safety policy. If fewer than five employees nothing needs to be written down. The main sections of this policy would be:

  • A general statement of health and safety at work, and this would set out the general health and safety commitments and the objectives, this section deals with ‘What you intend to do’
  • A requirements section for setting out responsibility referring to who does what, i.e ‘Who will be involved’
  • A future plan should be included which will outline how the future objectives would be achieved which is ‘How you will put it in place’

The policy statement could include additional actions that include ways of reducing hazards and risks. Other mentioned arrangements could be for example, staff training, improved lighting, non-slip flooring, using signs to highlight risks, additional PPE to be used etc. The health and safety policy statement is a simple statement about the businesses’ commitment to health and safety and should not be long or time consuming. All businesses need certain arrangements and procedures in place to ensure accidents are being prevented during the day to day operations of the business. It is good practice to record all of these details in the policy statement.

All employees should be given a health and safety induction when they first start work. This would cover basic evacuation procedures, fire and company rules. The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) 1995 includes the minimum requirements for the provision of safety signs at work. Employers are required to use safety signs where there is a significant risk to health and safety. These are to be used outside of engineering/design controls that need to already be in place to reduce the risk to what is reasonably practical. Signs should not be used as substitutes for regulated legal ways of controlling risk. Signs must be displayed in areas clearly seen be employees. If English is not the first language of an employee, instruction should be given on what the sign means. However, most, for example, prohibition/warning signs are self-explanatory, and the images are sufficient to display the messages clearly. The first aid box should be clearly labelled. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), places duties on employers and the self-employed to report specific injuries and dangerous occurrences at work. Records must be kept of this.

It is mandatory to show the health and safety law poster in all businesses. There are various versions of the poster, the most appropriate one should be selected for the business. According to the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, most employers are required by the law to insure against liability for injury or disease to their employees arising out of their employment. A copy of this certificate of insurance must be displayed so the employees can easily see it. Since 2008, it could be displayed electronically, but employees must have easy access to it.

Sources    hse.gov.uk    healthandsafetyworksni.gov.uk

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