Since 1989 every employer must have a Safety Statement prepared and available to employees in the workplace. A Safety Statement must explain the employer’s policy on safety and health in the workplace. It acts as a road map for the employer, the employees and members of the public, so everyone will know how safe a working environment is or is supposed to be.
Each Safety Statement must be prepared to suit the working environment in which it is to operate within. A Safety Statement prepared by a farmer for a farm yard is of no use for an office and vice versa. Each Safety Statement must be relevant to the business and to the workforce. It must at all times be brought to the attention of those people who are going to be affected by it including employees and also members of the public.
It is a working document and when new issues arise for good safety practice they should be incorporated as soon as possible into the document.
A Safety Statement is not something to be prepared and left to one side. As part of an active health and safety regime in the workplace, employees will be delegated responsibilities. Fire drills, disposing of hazardous materials or unhealthy working environments are all matters which must be checked regularly. A Safety Statement must organise members of staff and define whose job it is to do what role. In doing this, employees should be delegated to deal with First Aid, Training, Fire Precautions, the listing of hazardous goods, and eliminating risks where accidents or injury may occur.
A key part of any Safety Statement must also include how staff interacts with visitors to the working environment, such as contractors, members of the public, visitors and other staff. This is particularly important when the working environment is hazardous for example an engineering works, where heavy metal is being moved around the work floor or where there are live electricity or welding works being undertaken.
The Safety Statement should also include objectives and make sure that as best practice is employed throughout the working environment. This can only be done through communication, information and training.
The review of safety equipment including fire exits, hydrants, blankets and electrical certificates are always crucial also. These should be reviewed where possible periodically.
Contractors who supply safety materials into the workforce should also be contacted regularly. If they have particular needs or requirements, such as key codes for alarm companies or passwords, then these should be made available and known, so that the employees are aware of what safety arrangements are made.
Maintenance is a key part of ensuring that Safety Statements are relevant. In making sure that all components which could potentially cause a hazard are maintained and regularly serviced must be highlighted to all members of staff.
There is an obligation in law to create and maintain a Safety Statement. The responsibility of maintaining it and keeping it up to date should be shared between the employers and the employees. The purpose of having a Safety Statement in the first place is to make sure that risks of injury or hazard in the work place are reduced. Therefore, all people affected must pay particular attention to making sure that the working environment is safe for everybody.
If your organisation does not have a Safety Statement you should seek advice immediately so as to make sure that not only are the legal requirements met and to reduce risks for everybody.
For further details, please contact – https://www.odwyersolicitors.ie/contact/