Every employer is required to protect the health and safety of workers at the workplace in accordance with the provisions of the Factories Act and Labour Law.
A health and safety policy is a written statement by an employer stating the company’s commitment to the protection of the health and safety of employees and to the public. It is an endorsed commitment by management to its employees regarding their health and safety.
It is obligatory for the employer, underemployment contract to provide safe system and place of work and to take measures to ensure the safety of the worker. The employer must ensure the safety of worker from injury to their health and dangers of work and machinery by providing a safe workplace and work equipment; by complying with the conditions of health, safety and occupational health; and ensuring that machines and work equipment are installed and kept in safe conditions.
The law says that every business must have a policy for managing health and safety.
For a workplace with five or more employees, the employer must write the policy down. However, if the employer has fewer than five employees he does not have to write anything down, but it is useful to do so.
The employer must share the policy, and any changes to it, with your employees.
How to write your policy
Your policy should cover three areas:
1) Statement of intent
This should outline in broad terms the organisation’s overall philosophy in relation to the management of health and safety, including reference to the broad responsibilities of both management and the workforce.
State the general policy on health and safety at work, including the commitment to managing health and safety and the aims. The employer or most senior person in the company should sign it and review it regularly.
2) Responsibilities for health and safety (people and their duties)
List the names, positions, and roles of the people in the business who have specific responsibility for health and safety.
This outlines the chain of command in terms of health and safety management, e.g:
- Who is responsible for whom and for what?
- What is the accountability protocol to ensure that delegated responsibilities are undertaken?
- How is policy implementation monitored?
Other organisational features should include:
- Individual job descriptions having recognised safety content
- Details of specific safety responsibilities
- The role and function of the safety committee(s)
- The role and function of safety representatives
- A management chart clearly showing the lines of responsibility and accountability in terms of health and safety management.
3) Arrangements for health and safety (systems and procedures)
Give details of the practical arrangements in place, showing how this will achieve the health and safety policy aims. This could include, for example, doing a risk assessment, training employees and using safety signs or equipment.
This part of the policy deals with the practical arrangements by which the policy will be effectively implemented. These include:
- Safety training; Safe systems of work
- Environmental control; Safe place of work
- Machine/area guarding; Housekeeping
- Safe plant and equipment; Noise control
- Radiation safety; Dust control
- Use of toxic materials; Internal communication/participation
- The utilisation of safety committee(s) and safety representatives
- Fire safety and prevention; Medical facilities and welfare
- Maintenance of records; Accident reporting and investigation
- Emergency procedures; Workplace monitoring.