What are employers' duties with regard to having a general health and safety policy statement?

Under s.2(3) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, employers with five or more employees are obliged to prepare a written statement of their general policy with respect to the health and safety at work of their employees, and the arrangements in place for carrying out the policy. This written policy statement must be brought to the attention of employees.

The Health and Safety Executive advises that a general health and safety policy statement should accurately reflect the values and beliefs of the company, demonstrate a genuine commitment to action, and be supported through the individual behaviour and management practices of senior managers and directors. The policy should be concerned with positive health promotion as well as the prevention of ill health and accidents, and have an integrated approach that extends to non-employees, off-site risks, environmental pollution and product and service safety.