15 Sep What is a Health and Safety Policy?
Some businesses have a health and safety policy for its pre-qualification certification.
Others have a health and safety policy, if the business has a quality management system (ISO9001 or ISO14000 or ISO 45001) for a more qualified H&S standard.
However, there is no legal requirement in the Health and Safety at Work Act to have a health and safety policy.
There will be the purists of H&S, or even some WorkSafe inspectors who say you should, who will argue that it shows a businesses commitment towards H&S, but in my view, this is nonsense.
Why? The one page statement of intent/commitment is surplus to requirements. It’s a given by the responsibilities of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 that businesses have to act on H&S issues and manage them for the safety of their employees, and of course, their business responsibilities. Therefore, a health and safety policy becomes a tick-box exercise that sits in a computer, in a folder, or is tacked to a noticeboard. More often than not, it is never reviewed or updated to suit changes to legislation or the operations of a business.
Why have it?
A key reason for implementing your business policies is that they:
- Set out the ideals, values, principles of the business, and the way the business owners want their business activities take place.
- Become the guidelines for managers and other employees to refer to as and when required.
A major failure to the policy structure is that too often they get forgotten about, they are never reviewed for suitability or currency, or the managers and employees don’t know they exist.
Make them known and available
Have you ever been in a situation where a senior manager lays down the law or says to you to win a disagreement, “it can’t be done that way because it’s company policy”?
The best way to ensure that they are made known is to discuss them:
- Through the staff induction process;
- Have them available on a common (online?) drive for all to access;
- To have a hard copy made available to all staff via their manager.
Well written policies come into their own in employment disputes, but are only as effective as:
- The induction process of the business;
- The availability of the policies to the employees;
- The reviewing amendments (if any), their currency, and communication to those who will be impacted by their application.
Well written and up to date business policies are effective, but they have to be managed and applied as they were intended – to give guidance to others to manage and perform effectively for what they were employed for.
Hasmate has policies available for purchase – check them out here.
Please contact us if you wish to discuss this further.