Introduction to this document

Contractual terms - health and safety

As part of good health and safety management, you may need to strengthen your position by putting matters on a contractual basis. To help you do this, we have included a range of common terms.

Safety-related contractual terms

You can easily come unstuck as a result of the unwanted actions of your staff. For this reason, you should protect yourself by incorporating some clauses into your employment contracts to guard against this. A useful one is the Contractual Health and Safety Clause, which can be used for any type of workplace and reminds employees of their own duty to comply with legislation. With the increasing use of drugs, you can also include a Drugs at Work Clause that gives you the right to discipline anyone suspected to be under the influence of drugs at work. If your premises contain work equipment, you can also include a clause which relates to Misuse of Equipment, or if you issue personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff, you can use a clause giving you the right to discipline them should any PPE be lost or damaged by carelessness or negligence. A Recording of Personal Data Clause can also help you comply with data protection requirements by obtaining your employees’ permission to hold sensitive personal data on them. Similarly, you may need to protect yourself against any personal injury to your staff which has been caused by contractors working on your premises. If so, use a Contractors’ Indemnity Clause in your contracts. This will become operational if a fatality or injury has arisen due to a contractor’s failure to adhere to current safety legislation. Indemnities are also useful in the Secondment of Staff to other businesses. In particular, they are a useful means of passing day-to-day responsibility for health and safety to the company to which they are seconded.

Employment relationship

In terms of the employment relationship itself, there have been recent changes relating to religious discrimination. For example, the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 give staff the right to apply for extended leave to attend religious festivals. However, having staff absent for an extended period could affect your ability to maintain safety standards. If so, a clause on Safety and Religious Leave Requests allows you to reject a request.