Published 19th of August 2021
The UK health and Safety work Act 1947 secures employee rights to a safe and risk-free working environment. Employers are required by law to protect the workforce from injury or illness at work. This doesn’t include just employees but anyone that comes and visits your premises. Failure to keep people healthy and safe can be costly and lead to a damaging company reputation and low employee morale.
A major aspect of health and safety is keeping records of any incidents, procedures, and staff training. Any Health and Safety records created must be kept, safely stored, and securely destroyed when no longer needed. It’s important these records are kept for legislative reasons and to demonstrate the correct safety procedures and processes within an organisation.
The benefits of maintaining good health and safety record management
Ensures key information is easily retrievable- keeping everything organised and in one place helps when files are needed quickly or in an emergency. Records can easily be shared between colleagues, ensuring consistency and continuity.
Monitoring performance- It enables senior managers to monitor health and safety performance.
It’s a legal requirement- Certain health and safety records need to be available for inspections. Health and safety inspectors and representatives have the legal right to inspect a business’s health and safety records.
Compliance- It ensures an organisation can demonstrate compliance (internally and externally) with legal duties under the health and safety law.
Efficiency- keeping everything up to date and organised makes the job of Health and Safety easier as you can keep track what needs to be done and when.
Which health and safety records do you need to keep?
The below are records that must be kept as part of your health & safety document management:
- Accidents and incident investigations
- Risk assessments
- Hazardous substances subject to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH)
- Health & safety training and development of employees
- Maintenance of plant and machinery
- Purchase of plant and equipment and their technical files
- Health and safety manuals
- Procedural records
- Fire safety checks- alarm systems, emergency lighting, extinguishers, fire doors, etc.
- Statutory occupational health surveillance records
- Employment records- including medical records.
- Hazardous waste disposal
- Asbestos at work assessments and surveys
- Manual handling assessments
- Hand arm vibration exposure records and assessments
- Noise surveys and investigations
- Hazardous substances subject to the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR). Records and reports made to comply with reports of injuries, diseases, and dangerous occurrences regulations.
What should be recorded in an accident record book?
Don’t forget in the event of an accident on your premises, you must document the incident in an accident record book at work. This is a legal requirement to record all work-related accidents and injuries, which should be noted in your accident record book.
When an accident happens at work you should document the following details:
- The date and time of the accident
- Who was involved
- The injuries that happened
- The nature of the injuries
- The cause of the accident (if you know)
How long should you keep health and safety documents?
Most health and safety records need to be kept for five years; however, risk assessment records should be kept if the process or activity is performed.
Also, civil claims for injury can be made up to three years after an incident. Furthermore, some records relating to health or environment risks must be kept for longer periods.
There are several documents that have a statutory requirement to keep for a certain time:
- Accident book: 3 years from last entry
- List of employees exposed to group three and four biological agents: 10 years
- Reportable injuries, disease, or dangerous occurrences: 3 years
- Asbestos at work- survey and health surveillance for 40 years from last incident
- Exposure to Hazardous Substances in the workplace should be kept up to 40 years depending on the record.
Secure Document Destruction and Storage
Keeping so many documents can be stressful if you don’t have the time to keep them organised and safe. For many businesses keeping documents for a long length of time forms security and storage concerns. Scanningand storing these records off-site ensures they are kept secure and easily accessible straight from your desktop.
While it’s important to retain documents for a certain period, it’s as important to dispose of them formally and in line with current legislation. The most effective way to do this is to securely shred any records that you no longer need with proof of destruction.
We can provide on-site or off-site document shredding to suit your needs. On an ad-hoc or scheduled basis, carried out by our fully DBS checked staff who will provide a certificate of destruction at the end of each service.
Contact our team today to book a service or advice on managing your records.