What is an OHS policy?

The OHS policy refers to the Occupational Health and Safety policy. It is a set of guidelines and principles established by an organisation to promote and maintain a safe and healthy work environment for its employees. 

In some cases, OHS requirements are regulated by law. In the UK, OHS requirements are primarily governed by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and its associated regulations. These requirements apply to all workplaces and are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities.

An OHS policy outlines an organisation’s commitment to ensuring the well-being of its workforce by identifying potential hazards, implementing safety measures, and complying with relevant regulations and standards.

OHS requirements in the workplace

Here are some key OHS requirements in the UK:

  1. Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment: Employers are typically required to assess the workplace to identify potential hazards that may pose a risk to the health and safety of employees
  2. Safe Work Practices: Employers must establish and communicate safe work practices to employees. This includes providing clear instructions on how to perform tasks safely, outlining proper use of equipment and machinery, and promoting good ergonomic practices
  3. Safety Training and Education: Employers are often required to provide adequate training and education to employees on occupational health and safety. This includes general awareness training, specific training related to hazards and risks in the workplace, and instruction on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): When hazards cannot be eliminated or sufficiently controlled through engineering or administrative controls, employers must provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees. This may include items such as protective clothing, helmets, gloves, safety glasses, or respiratory protection
  5. Emergency Preparedness: Workplace safety requirements often include provisions for emergency preparedness. Employers must establish emergency response procedures, conduct drills and exercises, and ensure that employees are aware of emergency exits, evacuation routes, and emergency contact information
  6. Record Keeping and Reporting: Employers are typically required to maintain records related to occupational health and safety. This may include incident reports, records of safety inspections, training documentation, and injury/illness records

Work health and safety training

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 requires all businesses in the UK to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of employees.

Key training responsibilities 

  • New recruits need basic induction training into how to work safely, including arrangements for first aid, fire and evacuation
  • People changing jobs or taking on extra responsibilities need to know about any new health and safety implications
  • Young employees are particularly vulnerable to accidents and you need to pay particular attention to their needs, so their training should be a priority
  • Employee representatives or safety representatives will require training that reflects their responsibilities
  • Some people’s skills may need updating by refresher training

Employers must:

  • Make ‘assessments of risk’ to the health and safety of the workforce, and to act upon risks they identify 
  • Appoint competent persons to oversee workplace health and safety
  • Provide workers with information and training on occupational health and safety
  • Operate a written health and safety policy

Health and safety training methods

The key element of health and safety training is to provide necessary information for employees to be safe and healthy in their workplace.

This could be delivered in a training course, induction video, classroom training or any other method the employer decides. Many businesses choose online training to deliver health and safety information. Online training is cost-effective, time-saving, and provides interesting, interactive information that is relevant to the user. Further, new employees can take be enroled in the training on their first day of work, rather than having to wait to have enough new recruits to organise in-house training.

Many traditional online health and safety courses spend significant time training users on PPE (personal protective equipment), working in confined spaces or working with hazardous substances (also known as COSHH) in their training. This is not necessary for the vast majority of office workers. Employees need training to mitigate the risks they are exposed to. For most office workers, the key risks they face are related to ergonomics, first aid, and fire safety.

VinciWorks’ online health and safety training

Display screen equipment assessment
The course’s DSE assessment can be integrated with VinciWorks’ reporting and tracking tool, Omnitrack

Training that is interactive and useful is far more likely to be retained by users. VinciWorks’ training can mitigate those risks in as little as 5 minutes per unit. Our new course, Health and Safety for Office Workers, is specifically designed to provide relevant, necessary information that focuses on mitigating the actual risks office workers encounter. The course includes a DSE assessment built into the course and can be customised to include health and safety policies and procedures relating to your organisation.