Health & Safety Advice Pack for Smaller Firms

Sheet 6: Developing your company's health and safety action plan : Key points

If you employ more than five people, by law you must have a health and safety policy statement which you must bring to their attention. You must also record the results of your risk assessments. Although relatively few words are required to satisfy these legal requirements, it is well worth spending a little time to combine your policy statement and assessment record into your own tailor made health and safety action plan .

Start with a single sheet of A4 paper (see example below) ; Write it in your own words and make it fit your company’s needs .

Divide it up into sections:

On one side, in simple terms, write down your overall health and safety objectives (see below);

Next outline responsibilities (from director level down to the newest recruit);

Then outline the arrangements you have in place for achieving a safe and healthy working environment (for example, carrying out risk assessments; providing necessary training and information; monitoring health and safety performance; accident/incident reporting; first aid; general fire safety; obtaining professional advice; and so on).

Now turn the sheet over and on the other side write down the results of your risk assessments, detailing hazards, what could happen and any rules or control measures that need to be in place and appendices giving other useful information.

Don’t make the plan any longer than it needs to be. Keep it as simple as possible .

Remember, if it is to be of any value at all, it has to be a working document which your employees will actually refer to and read.

It is worth spending time to get your plan right for your business. Avoid copying other firm’s policies. Use the example below as a guide but make the plan your own .

When you have drafted your plan, check to see that it is signed and dated by the Director or Chief Executive as the person with overall responsibility for formulating, implementing and developing the policy. This is important to help communicates management’s values, beliefs and commitment to health and safety and establish the importance of health and safety in relation to other business objectives so staff can see the contribution the plan can have to ensuring overall business success .

You need to set aside time to explain your plan to you staff explaining the contribution of managers and every member of the team to its successful development and the formulation and implementation of procedures.

You need to commit the company to:

  • providing resources necessary to implement the policy; and to ensuring the competence of all employees;
  • using professional advice and services where necessary;
  • achieving continuous improvement in health and safety standards with legal requirements defining minimum standards which must be in place;
  • regularly reviewing and developing the action plan;
  • maintaining effective systems of communication on all health and safety matters; and
  • providing a simple annual report on health and safety management performance .

When you have done a first draft, you may find it useful to talk it through with a qualified health and safety professional or to make an appointment to see your local Health and Safety Information Centre, if one has been set up in your area (see sheet 10 or contact RoSPA Tel: 0121 248 2233 or email: help@rospa.com for further details).


Example of simple Health and Safety Plan

The Go-ahead Manufacturing Company: Health and Safety Action Plan

Part A. What we’re trying to do.

We aim to:

  • avoid accidents and damage to people’s health and cutting corners on health and safety to try and save time and money;
  • ensure that we pay as much attention to health and safety as any other key business objective;
  • always follow safe systems of work;
  • avoid buying in unsafe products;
  • work to legal requirements as a minimum standard to be achieved;
  • always insist on high standards of health and safety when dealing with others; and
  • strive for continuous improvement in health and safety performance.

How we’re going to do it.

We will always:

  • make sure we consider health and safety whenever we plan anything (however small);
  • identify hazards, assess risks to see whether our control measures are adequate or need to be improved and (see below);
  • set ourselves measurable health and safety standards and targets with dates for implementation;
  • monitor how well we are achieving them (for example, through inspection) and record results;
  • report and record all accidents and incidents and investigate them to see why we have not been able to prevent them;
  • consult everyone to get their views about possible health and safety problems and solutions;
  • communicate all necessary health and safety information;
  • provide necessary training for everyone so they can meet their health and safety responsibilities;
  • get advice from outside competent specialists whenever we need it;
  • meet basic workplace welfare requirements, have appropriate first aid and fire precautions and employers liability insurance; and
  • make time every three months to see how we’re doing, record our findings, and, where necessary, set new targets for improvement.

Who is responsible for what?

  • Josephine Soap, as overall managing director, has overall responsibility for health and safety in the company;
  • Joe Soap and Tom Thumb, as supervisors must make sure safe systems of work are always followed and carry out regular monitoring;
  • Every member of staff must co-operate in following safe procedures, report problems and make suggestions for improvements;
  • Our contractors and suppliers must provide us with all necessary safe information and co-operate with our health and safety requirements.

Signed

Josephine Soap, Managing Director. 1/11/2004

PART B. The Go-ahead Manufacturing Company

Record of Risk Assessments

Hazards Risks Control Measures
What could cause harm? Machinery? Chemicals? Manual handling? Electricity etc? What could happen? How bad could it be? How likely is it? Who could be affected?

What is the risk level, high medium or low?
What do we need to do to prevent harm? Is it adequate?

Do we need to do more? If so, by when?

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