Is It Time to Renew Your Health and Safety Policy?
Effective health and safety policies are key when it comes to creating a safe workplace environment. And for companies with five or more employees, it’s a legal requirement for these policies to be written up.
There may be times when companies need to share information about policies and procedures with staff, clients or third parties such as insurance providers and investors. Policies also play a role in helping companies demonstrate compliance with legislation. So making sure health and safety policies are thorough and relevant is hugely important.
But for health and safety policies to remain relevant, they need to be regularly reviewed and updated.
Why Do Your Health and Safety Policies Need to Be Updated?
Keeping health and safety up-to-date is not only a legal requirement — it’s vital to the safety of workplaces. Policies are written based on current regulations and risk assessment findings from the workplace. But regulations, workplace hazards and risk factors are subject to change, so policies should be updated to remain effective and compliant.
How Often Do You Need to Review Your Health and Safety Policy?
Health and safety policies need to be reviewed regularly to check that they remain relevant. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that health and safety performance should be reviewed at least once a year. Companies may decide to review them every twelve months, once every six months, or even more frequently if workplaces are rapidly changing.
Policies should also be reviewed if any changes are made to the work environment. For example, if new processes are adopted, new equipment is introduced, or the number of people working on-site changes.
It’s important to note that reviewing policies may not result in it needing to be updated. The reviewing process is simply for companies to check whether or not the current policies are still applicable. If they are, no changes need to be made.
When Should You Update Your Health and Safety Policy?
There are a number of factors that can cause health and safety policies to become out of date. If any of the below changes happen to the workplace or legislation, policies should be updated accordingly.
If Your Business Changes Location
If companies move to a new site or expand their existing workspace, there are new hazards and risks to consider. Carry out a risk assessment of the new space, and write a health and safety policy based on the findings.
Whenever You Hire More Staff
Companies may decide to increase staff count, but higher volumes of people on-site can cause different health and safety hazards. New staff will also need to be informed of health and safety policies and procedures.
Whenever You Adopt New Processes or Equipment
If companies replace or acquire equipment, policies need to be updated with details of how employees can safely operate the new work equipment. Likewise, if new processes or activities are introduced to business operations, these should be included in health and safety policies.
After an Accident or Injury in the Workplace
Every accident or injury in the workplace or claim of work-related ill-health needs to be investigated. Accidents can draw attention to safety hazards and health risks that might have been missed in risk assessments and safety policies.
If Employees Raise Concerns about Health and Safety
Employers have a responsibility to keep employees safe, so if any employees raise concerns about health and safety, policies need to be reviewed and potentially updated in light of this feedback.
When Changes are Made to Health and Safety Legislation
Changes to health and safety legislation can mean that policies no longer comply with regulations. So after changes to legislation, companies need to review and potentially update their health and safety policies.
CHAS is the UK’s authority when it comes to health and safety and risk prevention. We can help your company achieve excellent health and safety standards and minimise occupational risk. Become a CHAS member and gain access to eRAMS, training modules, Business Shield Support, insurance solutions and more.