Do All Businesses Need A Health And Safety Policy?
In this article, we answer the question “Do all businesses need a health and safety policy?” Although all businesses are legally required to have a statement of their policy regarding the health and safety of their employees at work and bring it to the attention of these employees, not all businesses are required to have their health and safety policy statement written down.
How do you decide whether you need a written health and safety policy or not?
This depends upon the number of people you employ. If you have fewer than five employees you do not need to have anything written down.
Who is classed as an employee?
Under employment law, an employee is someone who has an employment contract. This does not have to be a written contract. According to the law, if a person accepts a job offer they have a contract with the employer from that moment.
Usually, if your business deducts tax and national insurance contributions from their wages, if they are required to work unless they are on leave if they cannot send someone else to do their job and they must work a minimum number of hours to be paid then the person is an employee. Part-time, shift and seasonal workers must be included in the count.
Do Directors count as employees?
Directors are office holders rather than employees as their duties are different, however from a health and safety perspective, if the director earns money through the company it is best to consider them as an employee too.
So, do you have five or more employees?
If you do, you need to have a written health and safety policy.
However, if you have less than five employees, it’s important to note that this does not remove your obligation to have a policy and inform your employees about it.
You should consider how you can demonstrate that you are fulfilling these legal obligations without a written policy. To be honest, many small businesses find that it is easier (and safer) to have a written policy statement in place, even if it is not a legal requirement.