Good health and safety record keeping is essential to be compliant with law. It can be difficult to know where to start. Similarly, it can be difficult to know what you need to keep and how long you need to keep it for.
Certain types of record must be kept to comply with health and safety legislation. You may have further requirements in line with your industry specific guidelines or your own in-house health and safety policy.
Why are Health and Safety Records Important?
Health and safety records are important for several reasons:
- It ensures the information you need is easy to access. You can pass it onto others in your team and where necessary, external agencies, with ease.
- It shows your organisation is compliant with its legal duties under health and safety law. It makes it much easier to demonstrate this compliance.
- To give your internal health and safety officer the tools they need to effectively do their job.
- To make it easier to monitor health and safety controls from management level.
Health and Safety Executive investigators and Union Health and Safety Representatives both have the legal power to inspect your health and safety records. Having them readily available makes this easier and less stressful.
While you hope to avoid any legal action, it is worth keeping in mind that even solicitors in civil cases can request your health and safety records. They may even request records which are many years before the need to retain them expires. This may influence how long you retain your records.
How Long Should you Keep Health and Safety Records?
Best practice suggests keeping your health and safety records for five years. This will differ from document to document. For example you must keep risk assessments as long as the process or activity in the assessment takes place. Updating risk assessments regularly is also best practice.
You must keep some records relating to health or environmental risks for longer periods. It is also important to consider industry-specific guidelines. Any records showing the outcome of occupational health surveillance and investigation on your employees are not considered medically confidential documents. Treat these kinds of records differently in line with company policy whilst ensuring compliance with GDPR.
Downloadable Health and Safety Documentation
We have a wide range of risk assessment templates, which are professionally drafted, clearly written and easy for you to edit. Create your own tailor-made risk assessment documents to suit your requirements. We have a range of risk assessment downloads to suit your organisation. These documents help ensure your business has protection against any claims. It also helps ensure you feel fully ready in the event of an inspection by the HSE.
Explore our range of downloadable health and safety documentation. Get in touch if you need our help in preparing something more detailed or have specialist requirements.