Reviewing your health and safety policies

It's vital that modern businesses have the correct policies and procedures in place to meet the government's health and safety legislation.

Once initial principles have been put in place, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends regular reviews as a means of ensuring all procedures are up-to-date and discovering whether your system is effective in managing risk.

Review frequency

Under the government's Health and Safety at Work Act, it's necessary for businesses to review their health and safety legislation at least once every year and to provide a written statement of their policy (although the latter is not required in organisations with fewer than five employees under the Employers’ Health and Safety Policy Statements (Exception) Regulations). However, it's also recommended that policies are reviewed more frequently if required by certain changes within a business. Common triggers for more frequent health and safety reviews include:

  • If changes have been made to the methods used to complete work activities, the interior or exterior of the workplace or to the type or number of employees
  • If there is a reason to believe that current procedures are not sufficient for the work taking place
  • If there has been a major incident on site or involving employees while away from site

Core policy review

Regardless of the frequency with which a business decides to review its health and safety policies, a company health and safety board should include a number of required assessments as part of the process. These can vary from industry to industry, but general assessments should include:

  • An examination into whether the health and safety policy still reflects the firm's plans and goals
  • An examination into whether risk management and other health and safety systems have been successfully delivering feedback or reports
  • A report covering the company's health and safety shortcomings (should any exist) and relevant changes being made by management
  • A list of any actions that should be taken to address weaknesses, including the systems that should be put in place to monitor the results of these actions

It is also vital that businesses take this opportunity to review their own risk systems to ensure they're still valid. This could include a review of any business insurance in place, which could become void if not carefully updated each time changes are made to or within the company.

Good practice actions

Once all core actions have been addressed, businesses can consider any other measures they consider to be good practice when it comes to updating their health and safety procedures. This process may address:

  • The performance of health and safety systems in general
  • The wellbeing of staff members
  • Any individual concerns staff members may have
  • The spread of health and safety information around the company
  • Any issues being addressed by competitors within the same industry
  • Any issues regarding health and safety raised by customers, clients or suppliers

Although the vast amount of information requiring review each year may seem daunting, there are plenty of methods of streamlining the process to ensure it suits your business and schedule. One key activity that can help businesses stay on top of their health and safety procedures is the creation of a monitoring record, which will allow managers to plan and review any health and safety monitoring your company may require. This could include requirements for a number of department-centric monitoring activities including inspections, safety tours, equipment checks and maintenance schedules.

Departmental health and safety checks could also include the designation of an individual or a number of individuals as health and safety supervisors, as well as signage to ensure all employees are aware of their contact in case of an emergency.

Get Expert Advice and Support

Staying on top of health and safety - and risk management - can seem overwhelming without the right advice and support.

Bollington's Risk Management team work as an extension of your business, with expert, fully qualified risk managers working with you to ensure that you receive the level of support your business requires.

This can be anything from individual Fire Risk Assessments through to designing a programme of Health and Safety management or acting as a 'competent person' for your business. We can also provide advice and support after the event, working alongside professional legal partners to ensure you have the support infrastructure you need.

For an initial, informal conversation about your Health and Safety and Risk Management needs, call 0161 929 1851 or visit our Risk Management pages for more information about the services we offer.