A Safety Statement is the management’s programme, in writing, for safeguarding safety and health in the workplace. It represents the management’s commitment to safety and health and specifies the manner, the organisation and the resources necessary for maintaining and reviewing safety and health standards.
The management should ensure that the workplace practices conform to the Safety Statement and corrective action should be taken as necessary.
A Safety Statement is required by law and there are penalties for failure to have one. It is the responsibility of every employer and self-employed person to produce such a Safety Statement.
What is Covered?
The Safety Statement must:
- identify the hazards in the workplace
- assess the risks arising from these hazards
- specify the manner in which safety, health and welfare are to be secured
- give details of the arrangements made and resources provided for securing safety
- specify the co-operation required from employees
- specify the names of people responsible for safety
- contain the arrangements for consultation with employees on safety and health matters
- include details of information available to employees on safety and health.
Who has Access to the Safety Statement?
All employees should be made aware of the Safety Statement and have access to it. The Statement must also be brought to the attention of any other persons in the workplace who may be affected by risks to safety and health and who therefore need to be aware of necessary safety precautions. This could include sub-contractors, etc.
The Statement should be brought to the attention of employees at least annually and whenever it is revised.
A Health and Safety Inspector is entitled to see the Safety Statement and can direct the employer to revise it if it is deemed to be inadequate.
What is a Hazard?
A hazard is anything that can potentially cause harm. Each employer is required to examine the workplace systematically and identify existing hazards. Records of accidents can assist in the identification of hazards. Some hazards are obvious, for example, moving heavy loads. Less obvious, but at the root of many accidents, are hazards presented by untidy workplaces and poor maintenance. A hazard can be defined as that which can injure a person’s physical or mental well-being. High levels of stress clearly put teachers’ health and welfare at risk.
Assessment of Risks
If there is a hazard present it will then be necessary to determine the likelihood of it happening and the consequences of it happening. Some risks, such as exposure to chemicals or noise, may require physical measurements to be taken. Such hazards may take months or even years before damage materialises.