We will address the health and safety policy we will explain to you the elements that are part of this important document.

The essential feature of a policy is that it sets out the general approach and commitment of an organization to achieving particular objectives, which provide the guidelines for more detailed operational arrangements to be made with reference to the objectives. A health and safety policy does exactly that. It provides a framework of general health and safety responsibilities for staff, and of general operational arrangements to be taken to protect workers and others from harm as a result of activities in the workplace. Within this framework, specific responsibilities for carrying out particular duties will be allocated and specific preventive and protective measures will be taken regarding particular risks.

An organisation’s health and safety policy is a comprehensive written statement of how it will deal with health and safety issues. In general terms, its objectives are to:

• Identify the roles and responsibilities of managers, specialist health and safety personnel and other workers.

• Co-ordinate activities to identify, analyse and implement solutions to potential safety problems.

The policy will consist of three basic parts:

1 – General Statement of Intent.

This will give a broad outline of the organisation’s overall philosophy in relation to the management of health and safety. It will usually re-state the principles of the national legislation applying to the organisation in terms which are appropriate to its particular circumstances, and identify the broad responsibilities of both management and the workforce. It will also set targets.

2 – The Roles and Responsibilities of Individuals

This part deals with people and their operational duties in relation to health and safety. It will outline the chain of command for health and safety management and identify roles and responsibilities for individual staff or groups and give the scheme of delegation. For example:

− Who is responsible to whom and for what.

− How accountability is fixed to ensure that responsibilities are undertaken.

− How policy implementation is monitored.

− Specific safety responsibilities, including job descriptions covering the safety content of particular jobs.

− A management chart showing the lines of responsibility and accountability in terms of health and safety management.

3 – Arrangements, Systems, and Procedures.

This deals with the practical arrangements by which the general policy is to be effectively implemented. It will cover, for example:

  • Safety training.
  • Safe systems of work.
  • Environmental control.
  • Safe place of work.
  • Machine/area guarding.
  • Housekeeping.
  • Safe plant and equipment.
  • Noise control.
  • Dust control.
  • Use of toxic materials.
  • Internal communication/participation.
  • Consultation with workers on safety matters.
  • Fire safety and prevention.
  • Medical facilities and welfare.
  • Maintenance of records.
  • Accident reporting and investigation.
  • Emergency procedures.
  • Workplace monitoring.

In summary, the environmental, health and safety policy consists of:

  • General Statement of Intent.
  • The Roles and Responsibilities of Individuals.
  • Arrangements, Systems, and Procedures.

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