Health & Safety Policy
WHO NEEDS TO HAVE A SAFETY POLICY?
It is a legal requirement that if you employ five or more people you must have a written statement of your health and safety policy. The statement is important because it is your basic action plan on health and safety which all your employees should read, understand and follow. Accidents can happen in any business no matter how large or small.
A safety policy statement can bring real benefits in many ways. If it is well thought out, has your backing, commands respect and it is put into practice, it should lead to better standards of health and safety. Managers and employees will see the importance of the policy and will be encouraged to co-operate. An efficient policy will prove to be cost effective.
The Jersey Health and Safety Inspectorate produces a very useful guidance leaflet on preparing a health and safety policy called "Stating your business"
WHAT DOES THE LAW REQUIRE?
Article 3 of the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989 has been amended to include an additional requirement which states:-
"(3) It shall be the duty of every employer employing five or more employees or such other number as the States may from time to time by Regulations under this paragraph provide, to
(a) prepare and as often as may be appropriate revise a written statement of his general policy with respect to the health and safety of his employees and the organisation and arrangements for the time being in force for carrying out that policy; and
(b) bring the statement and any revision of it to the notice of all his employees."
Under Article 3(3) the written statement must:
- state your general policy statement on health and safety
- describe the organisation and arrangements for carrying out your policy
- be brought to the notice of all your employees
- be revised whenever appropriate, and every revision must be brought to your employees' attention.
Failure to comply with Article 3(3) may result, on conviction, in an unlimited fine.
WHAT IS MEANT BY A GENERAL POLICY ON HEALTH AND SAFETY?
The primary purpose of the policy is to set out your action plan for health and safety.
You should state in simple terms:
- What your general aims are with regard to employee's health and safety
- The system and procedures
- The importance of co-operation from your workforce and of good communications at all levels in the business
- That neglect of health and safety requirements will be regarded by you as seriously as behaviour leading to avoidable damage to plant, loss of production or any other disciplinary matters.
You, a senior partner or director should sign and date the statement so as to make clear your commitment to the policy.
The Health and Safety Inspectorate has a lot of useful advice on their website http://www.gov.je/Industry/HealthSafetyWork/HSI/Pages/default.aspx
GETTING HELP ON WRITING YOUR STATEMENT
It is important that the statement should be written, and revised as necessary, by people within your Company or organisation. Managers, supervisors, the safety advisor or safety officer may all have something to contribute and it is an ideal opportunity to involve your employees in order to benefit from their experience and ideas. Some UK trade associations and employers' associations have produced guidance which may be of help. If you have access to the Internet there are several sites which contain useful information. The Jersey Council for Safety and Health at Work, telephone number 499469, also arrange health and safety courses on a regular basis.
If you still feel you need advice on specific points, you should contact the Health and Safety Inspectorate of the Social Security Department.
The following checklist is intended to assist in writing and reviewing your safety policy statement. Some of the points listed may be relevant to your business. There may be additional points you need to cover.
- Keeping the workplace, including staircases, floors, passageways, washrooms etc., in a safe and clean condition.
Plant and Substances
- Inspection and maintenance of equipment such as tools, ladders etc.
- Maintenance and proper use of safety equipment such as helmets, boots, eye protection, respirators etc.
- Maintenance and proper use of plant, machinery and guards.
- Regular testing and maintenance of lifts, hoists, cranes, pressure systems, boilers and other dangerous machinery, emergency repair work - and safe methods of carrying out this work.
- Maintenance of electrical installations and equipment.
- Safe storage, handling and, where applicable, packaging, labelling and transport of dangerous substances.
- Controls on work involving harmful substances such as lead and asbestos.
- The introduction of new plant, equipment or substances into the workplace - by examination, testing and consultation with your employees.
- Noise problems - wearing of ear protection, and control of noise at source.
- Preventing unnecessary or unauthorized entry into hazardous areas.
- Lifting of heavy or awkward loads.
- Protecting the safety of employees against assault when handling or transporting the employers money or valuables.
- Special hazards to employees when working on unfamiliar sites, including discussion with the site manager where necessary.
- Effective control of works transport, for example by restricting use of vehicles to experienced and authorised operators or operators under instruction.
- Ensuring that fire exits are marked, unlocked and free from obstruction.
- Maintenance and testing of fire fighting equipment, fire drills and evacuation procedures.
- First aid, including name and location of persons responsible for first aid, and location of the First Aid box.
- Providing your employees with information about the general duties under the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law, 1989 and any specific legal requirements relating to their work.
- Providing employees with necessary information about substances, plant, machinery, and equipment with which they come into contact.
- Discussing with contractors before they come on site, how they plan to do their job, whether they need your equipment to help them, or whether they can operate in a segregated area. Also, what hazards they may create for your employees and vice versa.
- Training employees, supervisors and managers to enable them to work safely and to carry out their health and safety responsibilities.
- Supervising employees so far as necessary for their safety - especially young workers, new employees and employees carrying out unfamiliar tasks.
- Regular inspections and checks of the workplace, machinery appliances and working methods.
DO I HAVE TO SEND A COPY TO ANYONE?
You do not need to provide Health and Safety Inspectors with a copy of the statement unless requested to do so. However, if an Inspector visits your premises he may want to check the statement to ensure that it complies with the Law e.g.
- shown a commitment to health and safety and are your obligations towards your employees made clear?
- stated which senior person is responsible for seeing that it is implemented and for keeping it under review, and how this will be accomplished?
- taken the views of managers and supervisors (or the safety officer where one is appointed), into account?
- described how employees are to be involved in health and safety matters, for example by being consulted or by taking part in inspections?
- discussed the duties with the people concerned in advance? Have the duties been accepted by them, and do they understand how their performance is to be assessed and what resources they have at their disposal?
- made it clear that co-operation on the part of all employees is vital to the success of your health and safety policy?
- shown clearly how the duties for health and safety are allocated and how the responsibilities at different levels are described?
- said who is responsible for the following matters:
- reporting, investigating and recording of accidents
- fire precautions, fire drills, evacuation procedures
- first aid - safety inspections
- the health and safety training program
- ensuring that legal requirements are met.
- ensured a partner, or senior director signed and dated the policy statement?
This guidance note should not be taken as authoritative or comprehensive as it does not take the place of the actual amendment to the Law.
Copies of the amendment to the Law L.15/97, the Law and Regulations applicable under the Law, are available from the States Bookshop, States Greffe, Morier House, St Helier.
Further information on the requirements of the Law and any matters relating to health and safety may be obtained form the Health and Safety Inspectorate. Guidance documents relating to safety policy statements are also available.