Health and Safety Policy and Responsibilities

Scope of this chapter

This chapter explains the legal requirements around health and safety that we all need to know.

It should be read alongside our health and safety policy.

Relevant Regulations

Related Chapters and Guidance

Health and safety is governed primarily by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Under Section 7 of the Act, everyone has a personal legal responsibility to take reasonable care of their own health and safety, the health and safety of others and co-operate with all health and safety instructions or guidance given to them.

In addition to the above, Section 8 of the Act states that under no circumstances must anyone, intentionally or recklessly, interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health and safety. This includes lifesaving equipment, signage, firefighting equipment etc.

  • Always follow instructions and safe systems of work;
  • Attend any health and safety training offered to you;
  • Follow our health and safety policy, risk assessment strategies and any other relevant guidance provided to you;
  • Do not knowingly behave in a way that could put yourself or others at risk of harm;
  • Only undertake duties following suitable instruction and training;
  • Always follow relevant procedures when moving a person or lifting an object;
  • Use, handle, store and transport potentially hazardous waste or substances correctly;
  • Wear suitable clothing and appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
  • Utilise all items that are provided for safety;
  • Report unsafe practices or unmanaged risks;
  • Inform the registered person and/or Designated Health and Safety Lead of all accidents that occur.
  • Keep entrances and exits clear;
  • Keep floors free from slip and trip hazards;
  • Never block emergency escape routes;
  • Use and maintain safety signage;
  • Maintain premises generally e.g., keep clean, carry out minor repairs;
  • Report on environmental hazards;
  • Report unsafe or defective equipment;
  • Maintain equipment as per manufacturer's instructions;
  • Maintain any vehicles used by the service.

The registered person and/or Designated Health and Safety Lead must be notified of any breaches of health and safety policy or failure to work safely.

This may involve blowing the whistle on a colleague or visitor.

See: Whistleblowing

All residents, visitors and contractors should be informed of relevant safety policies and rules and abide by them. 

In addition, subcontractors should:

  • Be fully aware of their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and other relevant legislation;
  • Co-operate with staff to ensure a high standard of health and safety;
  • Comply with any specific instructions given to them by the registered person or Designated Health and Safety Lead;
  • Carry out any additional risk assessments in relation to their activities and liaise with the registered person or Designated Health and Safety Lead to ensure that adequate additional health and safety arrangements are implemented.

Our health and safety policy should be found in the local resources area of this Handbook.

See: Local Resources

If you cannot find it, speak to a manager or the registered person who can provide a copy.

Where the registered person is not based on site, they must appoint an on-site Designated Health and Safety Lead.

The registered person/Designated Health and Safety Lead must:

  • Develop a health and safety policy;
  • Ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to provide and maintain working conditions that are safe for everyone and are compliant with all statutory requirements and Codes of Practice;
  • Work with the staff team to assess health and safety risks, develop risk management strategies and review regularly;
  • Make sure health and safety signage is in place (care homes);
  • Make sure staff have sufficient health and safety equipment e.g., first aid supplies, PPE;
  • Make sure all staff are aware of their legal responsibilities under health and safety legislation and regulations;
  • Make sure information about health and safety is effectively shared and communicated;
  • Make sure health and safety is part of every induction of new staff, including volunteers and students;
  • Monitor and review compliance with health and safety policy through supervision;
  • Ensure staff receive appropriate health and safety training in line with the requirements of their work;
  • Ensure staff using manual handling equipment are supervised while developing competency;
  • Make sure staff have a way to report health and safety concerns, including whistleblowing;
  • Take all health and safety concerns seriously and investigate/report as required.

Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

  • Section 2 (3) states that every employer with 5 or more employees must prepare and revise, as often as necessary, a written health and safety policy for the workplace and must explain the arrangements for putting that policy into force;
  • The policy, and any revision, must be brought to the notice of employees;
  • Failure to have a written health and safety policy in place can result in the issue of an Improvement Notice, ordering the matter to be attended to within a fixed period;
  • Non-compliance can result in prosecution and a fine.

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

  • All reasonable precautions must be taken to provide and maintain working conditions which are safe, support health and are compliant with all statutory requirements and codes of practice;
  • Under Regulation 3 (3), risk assessments are reviewed, making any necessary changes if and when there is reason to suspect that they are no longer valid, or there has been a significant change in the matters to which they relate.

RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013)

  • RIDDOR places duties on employers and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, some occupational diseases and dangerous occurrences (near misses) which ‘arise out of, or in connection with, work’;
  • When staff or visitors are working, visiting or living in our homes have accidents, appropriate first aid treatment should be available and that all accidents are recorded and notified to other agencies as required including, where relevant, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under RIDDOR.

Regulation 17 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 (Part 3)

  • Good governance should be provided, including systems and processes that assess, monitor and mitigate any risks relating to the health, safety and welfare of people using services and others.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that a health and safety policy should cover three areas:

Part 1: Statement of intent

A statement setting out your general policy on health and safety at work, including your commitment to managing health and safety and your aims. The registered person should sign it and review it regularly. If the Designated Health and Safety Lead is not the registered person, they should also countersign the statement.

Part 2: Responsibilities for health and safety

The names, positions and roles of the people who have specific responsibility for health and safety.

Part 3: Arrangements for health and safety

Details of the practical arrangements in place, showing how these will achieve your health and safety policy aims. This could include, for example, doing a risk assessment, training employees and using safety signs or equipment.

The HSE website provides a complete example and a blank template that can be used to record your health and safety policy, if needed.

See: Prepare a health and safety policy.

Depending on the nature of the service, the HSE requires employers to display the health and safety law poster or provide staff with the equivalent health and safety law leaflet.

The poster and leaflet are both available from the HSE website.

The poster is not free, but the leaflet is available as a free download.

Care homes

Ideally, the poster must be displayed on premises. This should be in a place where staff can see it. The poster should contain the address of the local enforcing authority, the Employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS) etc.

If you are not able to purchase or display the poster, you must instead provide the equivalent leaflet.

Other services

In non-care home provision, staff should be provided with the equivalent health and safety law leaflet.

Further information

See HSE: Display the health and safety law poster

Breaches of health and safety policy that result in an accident, injury or incident need to be reported to the appropriate body. This information can be found in the Accidents, Injuries and Incidents chapter of the Handbook.

See: Accidents, Injuries and Incidents

The following links to a page of the HSE website where further information and guidance about health and safety can be found:

HSE: Health and safety made simple

Last Updated: September 12, 2022