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Construction Policy Statements

Guidance on writing an effective Health and Safety Policy Statement and keeping it up to date.  At the same time it should help you to check whether you are doing all you are required to do for your employees' health and safety.

The leaflet does not set out to give an authoritative interpretation of the law. The legal requirements themselves are however reproduced in full. What is meant by the organisation for carrying out the policy? It is important to realise that the H&S at Work Act places responsibility for H&S, with very few exceptions on you as employer. Many of the duties arising from that responsibility may however have been delegated to managers and supervisors and your statement should show clearly how these duties are allocated. This will become your organisation for safety. 

Whilst the overall responsibility for H&S rests at the highest management level, all individuals at every level will have to accept degrees of responsibility for carrying out the policy.  Whenever possible, key individuals or their appointments should be named and their responsibilities defined. In a small firm one person may be responsible for all other employees and report direct to you but in a larger firm, particularly where there are a number of different processes, the structure is likely to be more complex and diagrams may help to explain it clearly.

It is equally important that employees should be able to see from the statement how they fit into the system, what their own duties are and to whom they should go for advice, to report an accident or a hazard, or to obtain first aid or other help. Why do I need a H&S statement? If you employ five or more people you must, by law, have a written statement of your health and safety policy. This should be your own statement, specific to your firm, setting out your general policy for protecting the health and safety of your employees at work and the organisation and arrangements for putting that policy in to practice. The statement is important because it is your basic action plan on health and safety which all your employees should read, understand and follow.

The legal requirement aside, a safety policy statement can bring real benefits. If it is well thought out, has your backing, commands respect and it is thoroughly put into practice, it should lead to better standards of health and safety. Managers and employees will see the importance of the policy and will be encouraged to co-operate.


The following checklist is intended as an aid in writing and reviewing health and safety policy statements.  Some of the points listed may be relevant in your case, or there may be additional points which you may wish to cover.


  • Does the health and safety policy statements express a commitment to H&S and are your obligations towards your employees made clear?
  • Does it say which senior officer is responsible for seeing that it is implemented and for keeping it under review, and how this will be done?
  • Is it signed and dated by you or a partner or senior director?
  • Have the views of managers and supervisors, safety representatives and of the safety committee been taken into account?
  • Were the duties set out in the document discussed with the people concerned in advance, and accepted by them, and do they understand how their performance is to be assessed and what resources they have at their disposal?
  • Does the statement make clear that cooperation on the part of all employees is vital to the success of your health and safety policy statement?
  • Does it say how employees are to be involved in H&S matters, for example by being consulted, by taking part in inspections, and by sitting on a safety committee?
  • Does it show clearly how the duties for health and safety are allocated and are the responsibilities at different levels described?

Does it say who is responsible for the following matters (including deputies where appropriate)?

  • reporting investigations and recording accidents
  • fire precautions, fire drill, evacuation procedures
  • first aid
  • safety inspections
  • the training programme
  • ensuring that legal requirements are met, for example regular testing of lifts and notifying accidents to the H&S inspector.

Arrangements that need to be considered

Keeping the workplace, including staircases, floors, ways in and out, washrooms etc in a safe and clean condition by cleaning, maintenance and repair.

Plant and Substances

  • Maintenance of equipment such as tools, ladders etc. Are they in safe condition?
  • Maintenance and proper use of safety equipment such as helmets, boots, goggles, respirators etc.
  • Maintenance and proper use of plant, machinery and guards.
  • Regular testing and maintenance of lifts, hoists, cranes, pressure systems, boilers and other dangerous machinery, emergency repair work, and safe methods of doing it.
  • Maintenance of electrical installations and equipment.
  • Safe storage, handling and, where applicable, packaging, labeling and transport of dangerous substances.
  • Controls on work involving harmful substances such as lead and asbestos.
  • The introduction of new plant, equipment or substances into the workplace - by examination, testing and consultation with the workforce.

Communication, Giving your employees information about the general duties under the HSW Act and specific legal requirements relating to their work.

Giving employees necessary information about substances, plant, machinery, and equipment with which they come into contact.

Discussing with contractors, before they come on site, how they can plan to do their job, whether they need equipment of yours to help them, whether they can operate in a segregated area or when part of the plant is shut down and, if not, what hazards they may create for your employees and vice versa.

Training, Training employees, supervisors and managers to enable them to work safely and to carry out their health and safety responsibilities efficiently.

Supervising, Supervising employees so far as necessary for their safety - especially young workers, new employees and employees carrying out unfamiliar tasks.

Keep Check, Regular inspections and checks of the workplace, machinery appliances and working methods.

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