Management of health and safety
This page provides information and advice about effective management of health and safety at a business or a workplace.
The proper and effective management of health and safety will reduce the risk of accidents and occupational ill health.
Good safety management will involve
Please find below the key steps to managing Health and Safety.
More detailed information is available in the Health and Safety Executive's guidance document HSG65, 'Successful Health and Safety Management '.
You can download a free booklet 'Managing Health and Safety - Five Steps to Success ' (INDG275) from the HSE Books website.
Step 1. Review
For an existing business an INITIAL REVIEW of health and safety arrangements will provide useful information regarding the scope, adequacy and implementation of the current system. From this progress can be planned and monitored.
Step 2. Set your policy
A written statement of your policy is required if five or more persons are employed.
It should include details of the organisation and arrangements for its implementation and should be communicated to all staff.
It needs to be dated and signed by the Managing Director to give it validity and reviewed on a regular basis to keep it up to date and revised when practices or procedures change.
Step 3. Organise the workforce
Allocate responsibilities for health and safety.
This should be done at all levels in the organisation and so help secure commitment and co-operation.
Step 4. Controlling
(i) Ensure competence
This is achieved by ensuring that the company has or has access to, sufficient health and safety knowledge, skills and experience. Appropriate resources should be allocated and training needs identified and met in a planned way.
Training may range from general induction training to more specific/complex matters. A simple, initial training checklist may include the following:
- company safety set up/reporting structure
- fire and evacuation procedures
- first aid provision and location
- safety procedures:
- general safety rules, housekeeping etc
- accident/ill health/defect reporting
- use of personal protective equipment/safety equipment.
This entails providing information about hazards, risks and preventative measures. It also involves measures to encourage/secure the participation of all the workforce.
N.B. The documentation of policies, procedures etc. is an important element in the successful management of health and safety. Documentation should be sufficient to support the health and safety management system, not drive it; it should be proportional to the needs of the business on the grounds of effectiveness and efficiency.
Step 5 plan and implement
(i) Set objectives
Set objectives, identify hazards, assess risks, implement performance standards and develop a positive attitude to health and safety i.e. what is to be done, who is responsible, when it is to be done and the desired end result.
The Risk Assessment Process
This is required for all your work activities and involves:
- identifying hazards
- evaluating risks
- implementing and maintaining control measures
- recording the findings of the risk assessment (if you employ five or more persons)
- monitoring and reviewing the assessments.
For more see section on risk assessment.
(ii) Competent person(s). A competent person(s) must be appointed to help carry out your health and safety responsibilities. They should possess the necessary training, experience, knowledge or other appropriate qualities.
Below is a summary of the various safety issues, and some of the key points to consider.
1. Fire Safety
- Do you need a Fire Certificate?
- What fire precautions are required?
- Full advice can be obtained from the Fire Prevention Officer
For more see section on fire safety.
2. First Aid
Need to provide adequate and appropriate first aid equipment, facilities and personnel and to inform employees of your arrangements.
For more see section on First Aid.
3. Accident/Near Miss/Ill Health Recording and Reporting
Do all staff know what to do?
For more see section on accident reporting.
Electrical systems and portable appliances must be maintained in a safe condition.
For more see section on electricity.
5. Hazardous Substances
The risk from substances hazardous to health must be assessed (under the COSHH Regulations 2002) and any necessary control measures implemented and maintained.
For more see section on hazardous substances.
6. Manual Handling
Manual handling activities will need to be assessed and any risks reduced so far as is reasonably practicable. Training of employees will also be required.
For more see section on manual handling.
7. Display Screen Equipment
Where you have 'users' of DSE, an assessment of their workstations must be carried out.
For more see section on display screen equipment.
8. Personal Protective Equipment
Selection, use and maintenance of PPE must be such as to ensure safety. Training of employees will also be required.
For more see section on Personal Protective Equipment.
9. Work Equipment
Must be 'suitable' (i.e. safe) and maintained adequately. Contact with dangerous parts must be prevented. Training and instruction must be carried out.
For more see section on work equipment.
Workplaces must be suitably ventilated, heated and lit.
They should be clean and not be overcrowded.
A sufficient number of sanitary conveniences and washing facilities must be provided, as should facilities to rest and eat meals.
Accommodation for non-work clothing and an adequate supply of wholesome drinking water are also required.
For more see section on welfare facilities.
11. Compulsory Insurance
The Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, requires all employers to take out and maintain an insurance policy to cover the cost of any accidents etc. that may arise out of your work activities. A current copy of the certificate should be displayed in your premises.
12. Health and Safety Information
Health and Safety Law information (poster or leaflets) must be provided and conspicuously displayed. The enforcing authority's address and the address of the office of HSE's Employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS)should be written in the appropriate space on the poster. These addresses can be obtained by phoning HSE’s Infoline on 0845 345 0055
The old poster published in 1999 has now been replaced with a new poster and pocket card. You must replace the old poster by 5th April 2014.
13. Record Keeping
Records that may need to be maintained/kept include:
- Health and Safety Policy Statement
- Assessments - risk (general):
- COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health)
- Manual Handling
- Display Screen Equipment
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Accident Forms (F2508)
- Fire Certificate
- Accident Book (if more than 10 employees)
- Statutory inspection certificates:
- lifting plant and equipment
- hoists and lifts
- pressure systems
- Equipment maintenance
- Electrical system and appliances
- Monitoring/surveillance records (re: Control of substances hazardous to health).
Checklist for businesses: Managing Health and Safety
1. Do you have a clear policy for health and safety? Is it written down? Is it up to date?
2. Does it allocate responsibilities to individuals/posts throughout the firm?
3. Does it specify the organisation and arrangements for identifying hazards, assessing risks and controlling them?
4. Are staff aware of, and understand, the policy?
5. Is safety documentation in place/appropriate/current?
6. Have you allocated responsibilities for health and safety to specific people throughout the firm?
7. Do you consult and involve your staff (including safety representatives) if appropriate on matters of health and safety?
8. Do you provide sufficient information, instruction and training regarding hazards, risks and preventative measures?
9. Do you have an appropriate level of health and safety expertise in, or available to, the firm?
Plan and implement
10. Do you have a health and safety plan, including objectives?
11. Have all hazards been identified, risks assessed and preventative measures established?
12. Are safety standards implemented?
13. Do you know whether your safety plans have been implemented and your objectives achieved?
14. Do you know how effective your risk controls are?
15. Do you have accurate records of injuries, ill-health and accidental losses? Do you analyse these?
Audit and review
16. Do you learn from your mistakes?
17. Do you operate a health and safety audit system?
18. Do you periodically review your health and safety policy statement and your safety performance?
Last updated : 24/08/2010