Well that’s a question and a half.
The clearest answer we can give is with another question to ask you. “When did you last review your policies?”
Your policies and risk assessments are essential for creating a safe workplace environment and are a critical part of your health and safety system. So whilst it is a legally required document (if you have five or more employees) and you MUST have policies and risk assessments in place they will only contribute to keeping everyone safe if they are relevant, up to date and shared with your team.
WHEN will I need to update my policy?
Well current legislation should guide your when; if there is a change to the law then you need to reflect that in your policies. You should also think about policy updates if things change within your business setting.
Here’s what the law say:
5.—(1) Every employer shall make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the nature of his activities and the size of his undertaking, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Health and safety arrangements)
How Often Do You Need to REVIEW Your Health and Safety Policy?
Any time your policy is effected by business activity, change in personal numbers or as we outlined above legislation then it’s time to grab your policy and give it a review. The main thing to consider is that this document should be the beating heart of your organisation, it’s as important as your cash flow analysis, if not more (sorry we are a health and safety consultancy afterall)!
Your health and safety policies MUST be reviewed regularly to check that they remain relevant. It’s that simple; the guidance is:
“Health and safety performance should be reviewed at least once a year”.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Don’t get hung up on that time frame indication. You may decide 12 months is too long to wait for a review especially if your business rapidly changes over a short period of time within a year. Perhaps safety is one of your top KPIs so opting to review your policy every 6 months helps keep health and safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Reviewing policies may not result in it needing to be updated. Undertaking a full health and safety review will tell you if your policy is still current.
Critical UPDATES to your Health and Safety Policy (and those risk assessments)?
If the law changes – new or updated health and safety legislation can mean that policies no longer comply with regulations.
If there are any changes to your business such as:
- If you acquire a piece of equipment or have a new way of doing something (a new process or activity on site)
- If your business change’s physical location
- You take on more staff
- After an accident or injury in the workplace, perhaps even after a near miss report
Who may want to see your health and safety policy?
- Insurance providers
Policies are key to demonstrating your compliance with legislation. So, making sure health and safety policies are thorough and relevant is hugely important.
But wait, are they just a piece of paper?
Absolutely NOT. The communication of your policy and ensuring all of your team, site visitors, contractors or anyone else who visits your business can easily see how they need to behave, what the main risks are and the expectations of the people on site are critical to ensuring health and safety is practised every minute of every day.
Kedleston Safety can assist businesses that require health and safety audits of their management system. For smaller organisations, this might be as simple as a health and safety inspection of the premises and a review of current health and safety documentation. Because our team are here to make health and safety right for your team. Generic policies are not the way forward and will never be delivered by Kedleston Safety. Your policy is unique to your organisation.