Last reviewed 19 August 2019

Queries relating to policies accounted for more than half of all calls to our health and safety advice line this month. For advice on policies or any other health and safety issue, speak with a qualified consultant on 0844 561 8149.

1. Policies (stays the same)

More than half of all calls received by the health and safety advice line in July concerned policies. Look to structure your organisation’s health and safety policy in three sections.

  • The statement of general policy on health and safety at work sets out the organisation’s commitment to managing health and safety effectively, and what you want to achieve.

  • The responsibility section sets out who is responsible for specific actions.

  • The arrangements section contains the detail of what you are going to do in practice to achieve the aims set out in your statement of health and safety policy.

Drawing up a new policy? We have lots of topic-specific templates on Croner-i Health and Safety.

2. Accident reporting (stays the same)

It is often difficult to work out what should take priority in the immediate aftermath of an accident where a member of staff has been injured.

Your first priority should be making sure the scene is safe and that no one else is at risk of injury. Then tend to the health and welfare of the employee in question: ensure they get the appropriate level of medical treatment.

Always record all the details of the accident (see the template Accident with Injury Report Form and report it as soon as possible if required under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). See What should be reported?.

3. Occupational Health (up 2 places)

A quality occupational health service can help to reduce sickness absence and save money. For the occupational health department to have the greatest impact on the organisation it should work in partnership with key stakeholders including human resources, health and safety and, crucially, line managers. Managers need to be aware what services occupational health provides and that they and their reports know how to access them for support and advice when needed.

For more information, see the topics on Occupational Health: Principles and Wellbeing.

4. Display Screen Equipment (NEW)

If workers use display screen equipment (DSE) as part of their normal work, continuously for at least an hour a day, employers must do a workstation assessment.

Employers should look at:

  • the whole workstation, including equipment, furniture, and work conditions

  • the job being done

  • any special requirements of a member of staff, for example a user with a disability.

and take steps to reduce any risks identified.

Employers must also do an assessment when:

  • a new workstation is set up

  • a new user starts work

  • a change is made to an existing workstation or the way it is used

  • users complain of pain or discomfort.

See the Display Screen Equipment topic.

5. Working at Height (NEW)

When undertaking any work at height, you should make sure that people with sufficient skills, knowledge and experience are employed to perform the task, or, if they are being trained, that they work under the supervision of somebody competent to do it.

In the case of low-risk, short duration tasks involving ladders, competence requirements may be no more than making sure employees receive instruction on how to use the equipment safely (eg how to tie a ladder properly). This sort of training often takes place on the job.

When a more technical level of competence is required, eg drawing up a plan for assembling a scaffold, existing training and certification schemes drawn up by trade associations and industry is one way to help demonstrate competence.

Advice from Croner

To discuss the above issues in more detail, or for any other health and safety advice, please call a qualified health and safety consultant on 0844 561 8149.