Listen to this article now
Health and safety is an incontrovertibly vital consideration that every UK business needs to engage with. As a business owner or leader, you will already be somewhat familiar with the legal frameworks within which your health and safety responsibilities are outlined. But your policy should be subject to change over time and in response to fresh change; how do you know when you should review your health and safety policy?
Your Health and Safety Policy
Your responsibilities are not only to your employees but also to your customers, with specific industry bodies and regulations governing health and safety within different industries. But generally speaking, employee health and safety responsibilities are described by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which protects the rights of employees to a safe working environment.
The routes to providing this safe environment include robust risk assessment of premises and working tasks, the provision of personal protective equipment for the safer undertaking of dangerous tasks, and the training of personnel in safe approaches to work – amongst other specific regulated practices, as governed dependent on business and industry.
Health and safety policies are not immutable, though. They must necessarily change and evolve over time, whether in response to new changes and guidance or with regard to their situational effectiveness. Here, we will explore some key examples of when it may be prudent for you to review your business’ existing health and safety policy.
After an Accident
One of the more immediate occasions on which a health and safety review might be necessary is in the event of a workplace accident. An employee might have suffered an injury on-premises and might be pursuing a personal injury claim on account of not being at fault. This could indicate a serious health and safety breach, where response and review could prevent further injuries and further claims against the business.
After a Key Business Change
Your business’ health and safety policy would also benefit from a review or update after a key business change. This might be a move to new or larger premises, which could present new and unique risks to account for in your risk assessment. If your business model has changed somewhat, new processes might have been introduced that themselves carry new or differing levels of risk. Any new role you create should be assessed accordingly as well.
With Regard to Staff
Finally, there are two notable occasions wherein your business’ staff may be a catalyst for policy review. The first is when staff comes to you or to your HR department with concerns about safety. This might be with regard to the actions of another staff member, or with regard to a specific concern regarding a hazard they have encountered.
Alternatively, you may have an influx of new staff members to onboard. Reviewing health and safety policy first enables you to onboard your staff more effectively, and ensure a much safer working environment in the long term.