What is a Safety Statement?

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 all Employers have a specific duty to prepare a Safety Statement for their business. This is, in effect, management’s programme in writing, which details how safety, health and welfare is being secured and managed. It includes the following sections:

A Safety Policy setting out how the company intends to manage health safety and welfare Responsibilities will be detailed from Managing Director down to individual employees. All Management and Emergency responsibilties will be specifically written down Protective and Preventive Measures will be detailed e.g. what arrangements are in place covering such topics as: access and egress, housekeeping, manual handling, use of chemical substances, sources of noise or vibration, use of work equipment, working at height, care of pregnant employees, management os stress, bullying and sexual harassment and many more.

Consultation Arrangements will be specified which will include general consultation, the role of the Safety Representative (if there is one) and the role, membership and operation of the Safety Committee if there is one. Detailed Risk Assessments of all work activities both on and off-site which will specify what the hazard is, risk of injury, risk rating (if you wish), those at risk, preventative and control measures and who is responsible for ensuring that these preventative and control measures are implemented.

An Emergency Plan covering such emergencies as serious accident, fire, bomb scare, chemical spill, explosion, gas leak, violence against employees, receipt of suspicious parcel etc. Names and titles of all responsible persons You can prepare the Safety Statement yourself, there is guidance available from Health and Safety Authority – their website is: www.hsa.ie or you can call in an outside consultant to do it for you. NISO can organise a consultant to do this for you for a fee.

Once prepared you have a duty to bring it to the attention of your employees, contractors and others who may be affected by it. If you employ non-english speaking employees you have a duty to bring it to their attention in a form, manner and language that is likely to be understood by them.

Any Safety Statement reflects the state of a company at the time it was written – it is like a photograph in time. It is therefore accepted that, over time, work equipment, work practices, products, services and personnel etc. may change and this will require the Safety Statement to be updated.

Once prepared the Safety Statement should be reviewed if: there is a significant change in matters to which it refers there is a reason to believe that it is no longer valid if so directed by a Health and Safety Authority Inspector within 30 days.