Health and Safety Help! Sheet

Health and saftety is no accident - it has to be managed!

By law your organisation must have a written health and safety policy if you employ five or more people.  (Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978 section 2 (3))

Your policy should contain:

  • a statement of general policy on health and safety at work;
  • the organisation and arrangements in place for putting that policy into practice; and
  • a risk assessment of health and safety risks arising from your work - what are they, what action is needed to remove or control hazards, who is responsible for carrying out the action.

The Health and Safety Executive (Great Britain) produces guidance for management committees of voluntary organisations and board members in the public and private sector.  They list five main action points:

  • Management committees should accept formally and publically a collective role in providing health and safety leadership in their organisations;
  • Ensure each member of the management committee accepts his/her individual role in providing health and safety leadership for the organisation;
  • Ensure that all management committee decisions reflect health and safety intentions as articulated in the organisation's health and safety policy;
  • Recognise the management committee's in the act of engaging the active participation of staff and improving health and safety; and
  • Ensure that the management committee, is kept informed of, and alert to the relevant health and safety risk management issues.  A member of the management committee should be designated health and safety director for this purpose.

(Source:  Health & Safety Commission 2001 Director's Responsibilities for Health and Safety.)

Where to find more information...

District Councils and the Health and Safety Executive (NI) are both involved in improving health and safety but within different sectors.  For example District Councils are involved in service sector businesses and offices and the Health and Safety Executive are involved with manufacturing and construction.  The 'Protect Your Profit' booklet was produced on behalf of the HSE (NI) and the councils in N Ireland to provide guidance to small businesses.  The document contains useful checklists, templates and other guidance on health and safety and risk assessment.

The Health and Safety Executive has a website providing guidance to small businesses which contains guidance on preparing a health and safety policy document.

Click here for more information and tools on Managing Risk.

NICVA has an article on Risk Assessment which provides information on how to carry out a risk assessment.