World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Preparing and Updating Health and Safety Policies

Friday 28th April is ‘World Day for Safety and Health at Work’ which is an annual initiative put on by the United Nations (UN). This day emphasises the importance of employers around the world taking appropriate precautions to prevent accidents and diseases at work. To mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work, we are highlighting the important elements to consider when preparing and updating health and safety policies.

Workplace disasters can happen to any worker across any industry, making health and safety management priority number one. Moreover, having a specific policy for managing health and safety is required by law if you employ 5 or more people. According to the HSE, this policy should include the following:

  • A statement of intent—this is where the policy must state the organisation’s commitment to health and safety management on an ongoing basis.
  • Health and safety responsibilities— the names, positions and roles of anyone with specific health and safety responsibilities, should be included in the policy.
  • Health and safety arrangements – an outline of the practical health and safety arrangements that are in place should be in the policy, such as risk assessments and employee training.

It is important to note that on-site safety risks are ever-changing and therefore health and safety procedures must be routinely updated. For example, if you purchase a new piece of equipment or machinery, there could be an increased risk of harm to employees.

To help you keep up-to-date with your health and safety risks, the following guidance can assist you with the ongoing risk management within your organisation.

  • Identify a competent person. Having a valued and competent person within your organisation to keep pace with health and safety issues will help you stay in control. If there isn’t anyone in-house with adequate knowledge, seek help from external safety professionals.
  • Consult employees. According to the HSE, workplaces where employees assist in decisions about organisational health and safety matters experience lower accident rates. As such, ask for employee input, particularly from those who will be directly impacted by any procedural changes.
  • Risk assessment reviews. Written risk assessments must be completed in organisations with five or more employees. Always remember that when you review your health and safety policy, ensure you evaluate company risk assessments too.

The importance of preparing and updating health and safety policies is of course to protect employee welfare but it will also prevent costly workplace disasters. If you would like further information on preparing and updating the health and safety policies and risk assessments for your business, please call the Sutcliffe & Co team on 01905 21681, alternatively email