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June 5, 2017

Health and Safety – Preparing for the Unexpected

Accidents at work may seem very unlikely –until of course the unexpected happens. As a responsible employer, ensuring your health and safety policies are up to date is essential to ensuring the safety of your staff at work in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Your business will need to have a health and safety policy in place regardless of how many employees you employ. This will particularly important if your company is involved in a high-risk industry such as agriculture, electrical, or manufacturing where the likelihood of injury is significantly higher.

When compiling a health and safety policy statement, consideration should be given to the relevance the policy has to all of your staff, their individual roles within the company and also the needs of the business itself. It is also important to consider the size of your business, particularly if it operates across different sites, offices, and locations as each site may have different risks or functions requiring specifically tailored policy considerations.

Consulting other people and staff within your organisation, to support in pulling together a draft policy statement is a good approach, as it will highlight all necessary areas for consideration as your employees understand the day to day duties of the workforce. However, it is always advisable to gain legal assistance in drafting or finalising any health and safety documents, particularly if it affects a larger workforce.

How thorough and detailed the policy needs to be, is dependant on the level of risk involved in your organisation. So the more risks the sector you're in poses, the more thorough the policy needs to be.  For example, does the role bring staff into contact with the general public? Do they work with the heavy machinery? Do they come into contact with any hazardous materials/substances?

It is also essential that you clearly set out your responsibility as an employer, along with what is expected of your employees. Under the health and safety legislation, you are required by law to ensure that your health and safety policy is brought to the attention of all employees, this can be done using hard copy documents easily available to staff or using digital media.

Once inforced, checks should be carried out to ensure the policy has been understood, is accessible and is effective. Safety inspections and accident investigations are among the measures that can be taken to continuously evaluate and improve how the policy is working.

Your legal advisor can help you in making sure all potential health and safety issues are considered and addressed within your policy to ensure your business is well equipped in the event of an accident.

This article was first published here on Business Wales Website on the 5th June>>>

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