Write a health and safety policy for your business


Describing how you will manage health and safety in your business will let your staff and others know about your commitment to health and safety. This will be your health and safety policy. It should clearly say who does what, when and how.

If you have five or more employees, you must have a written policy.

The policy does not need to be complicated or time-consuming. To help you, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have created a template that you can download and complete. The template also includes a section for your risk assessment so that you can record everything in one document.

HSE also provide an example health and safety policy to give you an idea of what to include when writing your own.

A policy will only be effective if you and your staff follow it and review it regularly.

What should be in your health and safety policy?

Your business must have a health and safety policy, and if you have five or more employees, you must have a written policy.

Most businesses set out their policy in three parts:

  • the statement of general policy section sets out your commitment to managing health and safety effectively, and what you want to achieve
  • the responsibility section allows you to state who is responsible for what
  • the arrangements section contains the detail of what you are going to do in practice to achieve the aims set out in your statement of general policy

If you are unsure how to structure your policy, you can find advice on writing a health and safety policy on the Health and Safety Works NI (HSWNI) website. There is also a blank policy template that you can download and complete for your business.

You may find that there are some areas of health and safety policy that you need help with. You may be able to get help from Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland or the environmental health department of your local authority. If the issues are complicated, you may need to seek external advice.

Download a leaflet on getting specialist advice on health and safety from the HSE website (PDF, 114K).

You may want to consider environmental issues at the same time as considering your health and safety policy. If you have an environmental management system, your environmental policy should be a part of this. For further information see nibusinessinfo’s guide on environmental management systems (EMS) – the basics.

Read more: nibusinessinfo.co.uk