Time to Review Health & Safety Policies

Richard Glazzard
Does your Health & Safety policy address Covid-19 or is it due for review?

If anyone had told us last year that the challenge of a global pandemic lay ahead, we probably would not have believed them. In the world of health and safety, we deal with the reasonably foreseeable and it’s safe to say this was not reasonably foreseeable. However, we now know that Covid-19 is an ongoing challenge, and we may face further peaks, so organisations should ensure that arrangements are in place for employee Health & Safety.  

‘Significant changes’ require Health & Safety review - and Covid-19 is pretty significant

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act, organisations employing more than five people have a legal obligation to record their Health & Safety arrangements in what is known as the Health & Safety Policy. There is no requirement to have a policy in place that addresses every type of pandemic, but a high-level strategy can be developed as part of your Health & Safety policy to help meet the Health & Safety requirements of employees.

The Health & Safety policy should be reviewed annually or when there are significant changes. Many organisations had to make those significant changes in the last few months, from quickly mothballing offices and enabling work from home, to facilitating safe return to a  Covid-compliant workplace.   

What kind of Health & Safety culture does your organisation aim for?

Health & Safety are fundamental to workplace culture and the way in which an organisation is perceived, by employees and the wider world. Health & Safety policies should therefore be representative of the Health & Safety culture an organisation wants for its employees. Compliance is the minimum level to be adopted, but the informed and vigilant employer goes beyond compliance, turning the focus to improved employee wellbeing. This is an outcomes-based approach to safety, where employers reap the wider benefits of looking after their employees rather than doing it simply because it’s the law.

There are clear links between an organisation’s Health & Safety performance and the wellbeing of its employees. If employees feel safe in their workplace, they will feel valued. Health & Safety performance is also be linked to many other performance indicators, around employee engagement, service/product quality, productivity and profitability, as well as corporate social responsibility and social value.  

Is your Health & Safety policy flabby and out-of-condition?

Tailoring Health & Safety systems to the way in which your organisation operates and functions will ensure efficiency and avoid unnecessary bureaucracy. All too often, Health & Safety policies are full of irrelevant actions, paperwork and procedures, added piecemeal over the years. In some cases, they include procedures for managing risks to which the organisation is never likely to be exposed.

Two simple questions…

An organisation can ask itself:

  • Do our Health & Safety systems represent what we do in our day-to-day functions?
  • Do these systems make sense?

 If the answer to either of these questions is ‘no’, it’s time to review those systems.  

Developing bespoke policies and procedures

Faithful+Gould works closely with clients to understand how their business functions, developing bespoke safety systems, policies and procedures that protect our clients’ employees and contractors. The results add genuine value to our clients’ business. Our Health & Safety consultants are fully experienced, not just in construction but also in the workplace and manufacturing arenas.  We typically support our clients with:

  • Principal Designer
  • Client CDM Consultant
  • Construction site auditing
  • Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policies
  • CDM Implementation Policies
  • Health & Safety input in the writing of contracts
  • Auditing of existing systems for compliance
  • Health & Safety and CDM Training
  • Premises Compliance Assessments

We specialise in construction Health & Safety, across a range of sectors, including education, defence, aviation, residential and commercial property.

Please get in touch to discuss any questions or opportunity, or to find out how we can help you reach your Health & Safety goals.

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