Do I need a health and safety policy?
A documented health and safety policy is a legal requirement if you employ five or more people. If you have fewer than five employees you do not have to write anything down, though it is considered useful to do so if, for example, something changes.
How do I develop a health and safety policy?
Your health and safety policy should have three parts, as explained below:
Part 1 - Statement of intent
In your statement you should list your company's aims for health and safety. You should use simple language. You, as the owner or most senior person in the company, should sign and date the statement. You should also set a review date. You must also display your statement of intent where all employees can read it, for example on the staff notice board.
Part 2 - Responsibilities for health and safety
This section of the policy lists the names, positions and roles of the people within your company who have specific responsibility for health and safety.
Part 3 - Arrangements for health and safety
The arrangements section gives details of the specific systems and procedures you have in place. This part of your policy should describe in detail how you you control the risks associated with your business activities. You must tailor this to your specific business. For example, there is no point in describing your safety rules for dealing with chemicals if you don't use chemicals.
For more information on how to develop a health and safety policy download the HSENI publication 'Protect your profit'.
Where can I find a health and safety policy template and a worked example?
The following example of a health and safety policy shows how a small office-based company might complete their policy. A blank template is also provided to help you complete your policy:
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000
- The Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978
Please note that these links are to the original legislation, visitors should verify for themselves whether legislation is in force or whether it has been amended or repealed by subsequent legislation.