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What should a Health and Safety policy look like

In 2021 Red Tractor Farm Assurance added some additional requirements to their standards.  From November 2021 Red tractor now requires all farmers wanting to obtain Red Tractor Assurance to have in place, a Health & Safety policy. Though this may be a new requirement for them, this is nothing new for businesses, as the law states that every business must have a policy for managing health and safety. Both the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 imposes a duty on employers to have arrangements in place.

A health and safety policy documents your general approach to health and safety. It clarifies how you, as an employer, will oversee health and safety in your workplace. It’s basically a document which clearly say who does what, when and how.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that if you have five or more employees, you must write your arrangements down, but we recommend that companies of any size do this as no matter what, people are still at risk and employees still need direction.

What should your Health & Safety policy contain

Your Health & Safety policy should be laid out in three parts:

  1. Statement of intent
  2. Responsibilities for health and safety
  3. Arrangements for health and safety

Below we’ve broken it down to explain what you should include in each section

Section 1 – Statement of intent

You may also have heard people calling it your health & safety policy statement. This section should contain your pledge to managing health and safety and your objectives. This should be signed by the most senior person in the company and should be reviewed at least annually.

Your pledge could look something like the below:

“We are dedicated to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of our employees, contractors, customers and anyone else who may be affected by our Company’s activities. We will endeavour to maintain a superior standard of health, safety and welfare across all aspects of our Company’s operation”.

Objectives might look like the below:

  • Providing a safe place of work and maintaining welfare facilities to an acceptable standard.
  • Encouraging the commitment and contribution of employees, through communication and discussion in order to create a positive health and safety culture.
  • Providing appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision for all employees as necessary to ensure that all duties are undertaken in a safe manner.

Section 2 – Responsibilities for health and safety

In this section you should be listing your positions and roles and their specific responsibilities for health & safety. It also may be worthwhile displaying your company structure in this section, just remember, if you add specific employee names, you may need to update this more regularly.

You ideally should be listing the health and safety responsibilities for the below roles as a minimum:

  • Directors
  • Managers
  • Supervisors
  • Employees
  • Internal Health & Safety Co-Ordinator/s
  • External Health & Safety Support
  • Sub-contractors

You may have other roles like HR Manager or Facilities Manager you want to include due to them having specific responsibilities relating to health & safety and that’s absolutely fine. Your health & safety policy should be specific to your business and its structure. Just remember that these responsibilities should be communicated clearly so all employees, no matter what level, are aware of their duties.

Examples of responsibilities you could include:

  • Promote a positive health and safety culture within the company, leading by example.
  • Place on the agenda of any board meeting, or management review meetings, an item entitled ‘Health and Safety’ where relevant health and safety matters will be discussed together with recommendations where necessary.
  • Ensure that necessary protective clothing and equipment is correctly used and maintained in good order by employees under their control, visitors to site and external contractors.
  • Ensure that employees under their control report any unsafe plant, equipment, method of work or any other matters where there is a risk of injury to persons, or damage to property, and that it is reported to the Health and Safety Co-ordinator.

Again, this is specific to your businesses so if you don’t have board meetings don’t refer to them.

Section 3 – Arrangements for health and safety

The last part of the policy goes into detail about the practical arrangements you have put in place to reduce risk in your business and show how you will achieve your health and safety policy aims. This section isn’t a risk assessment but should give details on how you’ll be managing risk. For example, you may make clear what employees should do if an accident occurs and what process is in place for investigating accident.

Example arrangement:


It is our policy to report all accidents, industrial diseases and dangerous occurrences and to comply fully with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Employees, subcontractors, and visitors have a duty to report all accidents, incidents and near misses that occur as a result of company activities immediately to a First Aider. All incidents and accidents must be recorded on an accident form by the first aider administering treatment who will then send the completed form to the Internal Health & Safety Co-Ordinator.

This procedure will be explained to all employees, sub-contractors and site visitors as part of the company’s induction procedures.

All accidents and incidents will be investigated by the Internal Health & Safety Co-Ordinator, with support from the External Health & Safety advisors, if required. Incidents and accidents will be investigated to ensure that all factors contributing to the cause of the incident or accident are determined.

There should be arrangements in place, like this, for all areas of risk, e.g. Fire & Emergency, Manual Handling, Confined Spaces, Electricity, Legionella, etc.

What to do once you have your Health & Safety Policy

Once you have your health & Safety policy and it’s been signed, it is important to communicate this to all employees. Employees should be issued a copy or you should direct them to the document if it’s stored on a share drive. Time must also be allocated to going through the document with new staff on inductions.

Your signed Health & Safety Policy Statement should also be displayed on your company notice board/s where it can be viewed by employees (Canteens/Staff Room are an ideal location for health & safety notice boards).

As a minimum your policy should be review annually. This is a great chance to think about your upcoming years Health & Safety KPIs and think about areas which could be improved.

What if I don’t have a health & Safety policy?

Failure to conform with health & safety legislation can lead to consequences falling on both individuals and the company.

Businesses may possibly face penalties like:

  • Fines and imprisonment. A breach of duties under sections 2 to 6 HSWA could lead to an unlimited fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both. In the Crown Court, the maximum penalty is an unlimited fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.

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  • Tribunal claims and compensation pay-outs.
  • Business disqualification and disruptions.

Need assistance with your Health & Safety Policy creation

If you need a Health & Safety policy creating or review, feel free to contact our expert team. Our consultants can arrange a meeting with you either virtually or in-person to go through each step and create a policy tailored to your business. You can have this service as a one off or part of a retained service where you’ll have access to unlimited advice from your dedicated consultant.

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