There is a legal requirement for businesses to have a Health and Safety Policy and if there are five or more employees, this must be documented.
Many people are often confused by the purpose and need for a documented Health & Safety Policy. They can become 'inflated' documents which nobody reads or indeed understands. The legal requirement for such documents is given below:
"Except in such cases as may be prescribed, it shall be the duty of every employer to prepare and as often as may be appropriate revise a written statement of his general policy with respect to the health and safety at work of his employees and the organisation and arrangements for the time being in force for carrying out that policy; and to bring the statement and any revision of it to the notice of all his employees."
"(1) Every employer shall make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the nature of his activities and the size of his undertaking, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures.
(2) Where the employer employs five or more employees, he shall record the arrangements referred to in paragraph (1)."
In this age of constant 'red tape' it is important to remember what the Health & Safety Policy is for. In short you, your employees and any other interested party, should be able to easily derive the following information from your policy:
What are you going to do?
How are you going to do it?
Who is going to be responsible for making sure that the required actions are carried out?
A Health & Safety policy should accurately reflect the nature of the business and it is highly unlikely that the template example will be suitable without further modification. It will however provide a good starting point and is an essential element of your overall plan.