Proper documentation is an important part of controlling your management system.
As a minimum, you must meet your legal obligations for record keeping:
- You must record and report fatal and major injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences. You must also report over-three-day absences that are work related. See first aid, accidents and ill-health in the workplace.
- If you employ five or more people, you must keep written records of your health and safety risk assessments. See health and safety risk assessment.
- If you employ five or more people, you must also have a written health and safety policy. See write a health and safety policy for your business.
But keeping records isn't just about complying with the law. It's a key part of helping you manage your business. By writing down policies and procedures, you make it clear how things should be done.
Set health and safety targets
Monitoring how well your procedures work is also an essential part of effective management. Your management system should include targets and objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART). For example, your targets could include halving the number of accidents within two years.
If you aren't achieving your objectives and targets, you need to change the way you do things. For example, if you are still having incidents of a similar nature, such as slips or trips in the same area, you'll need to review the flooring or change your premises so people don't need to walk in that area.
Improving health and safety management
You should also review your management system itself to check that the system is working and to consider how it can be improved. For example, you should check that risks are being properly controlled, and that you are following the right procedures when problems are identified. Regular audits like this confirm that the management system is working the way you want it to, helping you to manage health and safety effectively.
You may find external audits of your system helpful. These will be required if you are working towards a recognised management standard. See health and safety management standards.