Monday, October 16, 2006

H&S Policy - when do you need one?

Under the Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974 - section 2

An employer has a duty to prepare a written statement of his general policy with respect to health and safety together with the organisation and arrangements for carrying out the policy.

Exception in cases where fewer than five people are employed at any one time for a single undertaking (i.e. if there are 5 employees a policy will be required). In most cases it will be obvious whether this exception applies. However, there is some case law (Osborne vs Taylor of Huyton) that defined a number of scenarios:

1. If you run a business that requires 3 people. You may have 3 people for part of the week and a different 3 for the second part of the week. Even though there are 6 people employed by the business they are never present at any one time, and so there is no legal requirement to prepare a policy.

2. If you have two business locations, each employing 3 people, the two locations are considered to be part of the same undertaking and so there will be 6 people people employed and there is a legal requirement to prepare a policy.

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