Health, Safety and Welfare Policy

Change history

Version numberDate of releasePolicy ownerAuthorised by
6.008 September 2023Kieran Connolly, Chief Resources OfficerBoard of Trustees

Policy statement

Central YMCA (‘the Charity’) recognises and accepts that it is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of its employees when at work, and of all non-employees who have access to the services of the Charity. Our separate Health, Safety and Welfare Policy Statement is signed by the Chief Executive and displayed at all of the Charity’s premises.


This Health, Safety and Welfare Policy is a commitment to promote and maintain safe and healthy working conditions, equipment, and systems of work for all our staff, Trustees, volunteers, learners, members, contractors, and any members of the public visiting our premises.

Whilst we will do all that is within our powers to ensure the health and safety of our staff and external stakeholders, it is recognised that health and safety at work is the responsibility of each and every individual associated with the Charity. The policy will therefore only be successful if hazards and incidents are reported promptly, and employees feel confident that all possible remedial measures will be taken to prevent a reoccurrence of any problem.

Employees are obliged to take reasonable care of themselves and others, to co-operate with management and to promote the health, safety, and welfare of all our stakeholders. This involves co-operation between employees at all levels and within the shared workplace.

This Policy is made up of two parts, comprising our organisational responsibilities and headline health and safety arrangements. It is supported by supplementary procedures, additional health and safety information and health and safety arrangements specific to our varied operations.

Success in fulfilling these responsibilities will be measured through regular auditing, reporting to the Board, regular management meetings and through the performance development review process.         

Accepting that we cannot transfer our responsibility for managing health, safety and welfare in the workplace to others, we have retained Peninsula to help us meet this objective. They provide information and guidance on the effective management of health and safety, conduct routine audits and act as a source of advice and information.

Related Legislation and Guidance 

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Employment Rights Act 1996
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
  • Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
  • Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
  • Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009
  • Health and Safety Executive Guidance


Board of Trustees
Overall responsibility for the policies and procedures that govern the work at Central YMCA.

Chief Executive
Overall responsibility for ensuring Central YMCA’s resources are used effectively and appropriately.

Chief Resources Officer (Responsible Person and Policy Owner)
Overall responsibility for ensuring that the health and safety standards, policies and procedures in place are clear, maintained and implemented and in line with statutory requirements.

Facilities Manager
Responsibility for maintenance and communication of this policy and related procedures, risk assessments, audits and safe systems of work across the Charty

Heads of Operations, Departments and Line Managers
Responsibility for the detailed implementation of this policy and related procedures within their areas of operational responsibility. Ensuring appropriate risk assessments are undertaken and relevant health and safety training is undertaken by members of their team. Responsibility for reporting and escalating issues, near misses and any concerns to the Facilities Manager and/or Executive Team. 

Health and Safety Representatives
Each operation has a designated Health and Safety representative responsible for the day-to-day monitoring of health and safety within their operational areas. Responsibilities include updating risk assessments, distributing policy details and ensuring all users of the relevant operation are familiar with the emergency arrangements for each site.

All Employees and Volunteers
Responsibility for:

  • Co-operating with Line Managers to achieve a safe workplace. 
  • Co-operating on health and safety matters, taking reasonable care of their own health and safety.
  • Reporting all appropriate health and safety concerns and incidents to their Line Manager and Health and Safety Representatives.
  • Not interfering with anything provided to safeguard health and safety. 
  • Completing all relevant health and safety training provided by the Charity.



1. Principles

The health, safety and welfare of our staff, volunteers, and external stakeholders is of primary importance. We recognise this by the provision of safe working conditions, supervision, training, guidelines, and information.

This policy sets a commitment to provide a working environment, equipment and systems of work, which are free from hazard and without risk to health, on our own premises or on other premises we use. This includes:

  • Undertaking health and safety risk assessments for all premises used by the Charity and communicating the outcomes to staff as appropriate
  • Provision of appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure the health, safety and welfare of staff and others
  • The implementation, monitoring and review of this policy and associated procedures, guidance, and documentation as necessary to ensure their accuracy, relevance and to support continuous improvement.
  • Undertaking accident investigations to establish the causes of accidents and implement such corrective action as is necessary to eliminate or reduce risk.
  • Provision of arrangements for the emergency evacuation of premises in case of fire or other emergency.
  • Provision of arrangements for the emergency lockdown of premises in the case of  an emergency situation such as a hostile intruder, terrorist attack or other criminal activity.
  • Monitoring of the activities of any subcontractors working with learners on our behalf and ensuring that subcontractors share our commitment to the health, safety and welfare of learners

Our separate Health, Safety and Welfare Policy Statement is publicly available and sets out our commitment to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees and other stakeholders.

2. Process

It is the duty of our employees and external stakeholders to take reasonable care of their own and other people's safety and welfare and to report any hazards or situations which may pose a threat to the wellbeing of themselves or any other person.

If you find yourself exposed to imminent and unavoidable danger you should stop what you are doing immediately and proceed to a place of safety. During such a situation, employees should advise their line manager or another member of management as soon as it is safe to do so.

The Charity recognises that from time to time you may face personal, health or social problems which affect you at work. It is the policy of the Charity to:

  • Communicate effectively with you and promote a culture of regular dialogue between you and your line manager
  • Encourage you to seek help where issues arise which are causing you undue stress (personal or work related)
  • Encourage your line manager to understand the role they play in supporting you
  • Monitor trends in absenteeism and sickness data; and
  • Seek your feedback through informal discussions and the annual appraisal process.

Communication between employees at all levels is an essential part of effective health and safety management. Regular team meetings provide a forum in which information may be conveyed and employee’s questions on health and safety issues answered. In addition, regular health and safety group meetings provide an opportunity to assess the continuing effectiveness of the policy, share issues and best practice and monitor any trends.

3. Emergency Procedures

Procedures in the event of a fire, or other emergencies, are available at all Charity premises. This includes procedures for both the evacuation and lockdown of premises.

All staff should complete an induction covering emergency procedures relevant for their location/operation. All staff are also required to actively take part in precautionary and practice exercises as and when required.

4. Incident Reporting and Investigation

Staff have a responsibility to report all accidents, injuries, and incidents, however minor, whether occurring at the Charity’s premises or another site whilst undertaking their duties. This includes incidents impacting staff, volunteers, members, learners, or a member of the public whist on Charity premises or involved in activities lead by the Charity and under the care of the Charity.

The Charity has an incident reporting system on BrightSafe and detailed guidance is available on the Charity’s intranet. See Appendix 2 for an overview our reporting and investigation process.

All accidents, near misses and incidents of work-related ill-health are reviewed and investigated as required in order to identify root causes and prevent a recurrence. Accident records are crucial to the effective monitoring and revision of this policy and must therefore be accurate and comprehensive. This also helps the Charity to ensure lessons can be learned, and any relevant procedures, training and guidance can be updated.  

A member of the Executive Team should be notified as soon as possible of any incidents or accidents which require medical attention or emergency services. The Executive Team will notify the Board of Trustees and external regulators as appropriate.

The Charity has a duty to report certain types of incidents to the Health and Safety Executive. Any incidents which fall within the reporting requirements of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) will be investigated by the Chief Resources Officer or Facilities Manager, with support from relevant operational staff. Further guidance on reporting requirements can be found here.  

5. Monitoring

Health and safety standards are monitored via the Health and Safety Representatives, Operational Managers and the Facilities Manager through regular audits, inspections and compliance checks.

A Health & Safety Committee made up of Health and Safety Representatives from each operation meets quarterly to share key updates, learning and best practice.

Regular reports on health and safety incidents and the outcome of monitoring activities are provided to the Board of Trustees.


6. Training

The Charity will ensure that every employee receives the training necessary to carry out their duties safely.

All employees are trained in safe working practices and procedures and informed of their responsibilities under this policy.

Employees are given appropriate health and safety induction training when they start work with the Charity and provided with other job specific health and safety training as identified for their role. Mandatory health and safety training is completed by staff annually.

If an employee is unsure how to perform a certain task or feels it would be dangerous to perform a specific task, then they should inform their line manager.

7. Signs and notices

Statutory health and safety notices are displayed in all Charity premises including the Health and Safety Law poster, Health and Safety Policy Statement and the current Employer’s and Public Liability Insurance certificates. 

Signage is also displayed in all Charity premises to indicate emergency procedures including fire escape routes and fire extinguisher locations, call alarm systems where installed and to highlight particular hazards or precautions required.

8. Employees at Increased Risk

From time to time, some employees may be at increased risk of injury or ill-health resulting from work activities. This includes:

  • Those with medical conditions or permanent or temporary disability
  • Those taking medication
  • Young people
  • Those who are pregnant

The Charity therefore requires that all employees advise their line manager if they become aware of any change in their personal circumstances which could result in their being at increased risk. Risk assessments will then be reviewed accordingly, and action taken as necessary to control the risks. We have separate detailed procedures for new and expectant mothers.

We also recognise that due to the nature of some of our work, certain individuals will be potentially at increased risk because of their roles or their locations. We have therefore developed a specific Lone Worker Policy, Risk Assessments and checklists to cover the work of remote/lone workers, homeworkers, mobile workers and those travelling abroad.

9. Contractors

Where contractors are engaged to undertake work on the Charity’s premises, steps will be taken to establish that they are competent to undertake the work safely. Essential health and safety information will be exchanged prior to them starting work and the safety of their working methods will be monitored. Contractors are required to comply with our “site rules for contractors”.

All works require the sharing of risk assessments and method statements for safely completing contractor duties.

All project works will require full project management review and a project health and safety plan including evidence for all appropriate insurance and statutory compliance arrangements reviewed and signed off before works commence.

10. Learners

All Study Programme Learners’ work experience placements are vetted and risk assessed by a competent Health & Safety Representative before learners are engaged in this activity. The data is maintained for our records and monitored and updated as appropriate. All practical tasks are risk assessed at training centres before the learner is observed carrying out practical tasks by tutors. Risk assessments are kept in the learner’s practical folder.

A Commitment Statement is completed for all apprentices and signed by the apprentice, training provider and employer. As part of this, there is a commitment from the Charity, as the training provider to “provide a learning environment that meets current health and safety legislation to enable the apprentice to learn safely for the duration of the apprenticeship if outside the apprentice’s workplace.” The employer will “provide a working environment that meets current health and safety legislation to enable their apprentice to work and learn safely for the duration of the apprenticeship”. An Apprenticeship Agreement is also in place between the apprentice and the employer which sits alongside the Commitment Statement, and forms part of the individual employment arrangements between the apprentice and the employer.

Risk assessments are undertaken for all YMCAfit programmes at the beginning of every course, with any changes to the environment assessed daily. Learners must complete a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) and Informed Consent form before undertaking any physical activity. In the case of any known injuries or contra indications, a doctor’s consent form must be completed. Learners must also undertake risk assessments ahead of participation of any online courses to assess their environment. Detailed risk assessments are also undertaken by the Learner for any recorded assessments.   

In the event of an accident or ill health of a learner or apprentice in our care, the Charity’s internal health and safety procedure would be followed, and all relevant stakeholders (legal guardians, employers) would be notified. Regulators and other relevant authorities will be informed where required.

11. Members

All health club members and users must sign a health and fitness statement on sign-up.

PAR-Qs must be completed by any visitors wishing to take part in our Health and Wellbeing activities.

Inductions are offered to all members and are mandatory for anyone under the age of 18.

All lessons and other activities require completion of a health declaration form.

Annual risk assessments are completed when delivering activities in schools.

12. Occupational health

All employees are encouraged to report any health concerns which they feel are associated with or made worse by work. Such reports will be treated confidentially, and occupational health assistance will be sought as needed.

The Charity has easily accessible and available employee assistance resources through our HR team and via the intranet. Our separate Health and Safety Procedures and General Arrangements document includes guidance for managing stress related issues, issues associated with substance abuse and managing wellbeing relating to work life balance.

13. Employee Assistance Programme

To further support employees, we provide access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The program is designed to assist employees and their family on a wide range of work, personal and family issues.

The service operates 24/7, 365 days a year and is run by experienced, in-house counsellors, legal and financial specialists. To access the online services please visit the Charity’s intranet.

The service is free and completely confidential. Our online portal provides confidential access to workplace wellbeing fact sheets, videos, self-help programmes and educational resources.

14. First Aid

The Charity provides appropriate first aid equipment and ensures there are appropriately trained first aid representatives in each of the Charity’s premises. First aid representatives are responsible for ensuring that first aid supplies are regularly inspected and maintained.

Information has been provided to all employees to ensure awareness of our first aid arrangements and the availability of first aid trained personnel. Details are explained within our First Aid Policy and operational procedures.

15. Arrangements for Dealing with Specific Risk Hazards

15.1 Working environment

All Charity premises have undergone an asbestos survey. Where any asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) are identified as being present these are labelled and therefore easily identifiable to prevent disturbance. Staff and others who work in any areas that may contain ACM’s or who may carry out maintenance works to Charity premises will be given warning of any locations identified. An asbestos register file is kept up to date by the Chief Resources Officer.

We recognise that our water systems must be properly managed to prevent deterioration of the water quality and the growth of legionella bacteria. We have therefore developed a separate policy and risk assessment in this area. Water quality in high risk areas will be monitored on a regular basis.

We maintain high standards of housekeeping at our Charity premises for both the health and safety of our staff and any visitors. Cleaning responsibilities are allocated and appropriate tasks are assigned.

Flooring will be maintained in good condition and kept under repair.  We also ensure that any spillages are cleaned up promptly and that trip hazards are dealt with.

Repairs to equipment and building fabric are completed as soon as reasonably practical where the issues raised may pose a health and safety risk to users.

Charity premises are provided with suitable lighting, heating and ventilation to ensure comfort of users as well as appropriate kitchen, toilet, washing and welfare facilities.

15.2 Work equipment

All work equipment supplied by the Charity is assessed for suitability. Employees are encouraged to report defects to their supervisor or manager, at which point the equipment is repaired or replaced. Equipment is maintained in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions. Staff are instructed in the correct use of power tools, including the correct use of guarding, where applicable.

Portable electrical equipment including tools and office equipment is subject to a programme of portable appliance testing (PAT), as well as the pre-use inspections that all staff are instructed to carry out.

For safety we ensure that the use of 240v tools is limited to circumstances where conditions are dry and mechanical damage is unlikely. Residual current devices (RCD) may be requested to be used with 240v power tools to minimise the risk of electric shock.

We provide Personal Protective equipment (PPE) to our employees as required. The type of equipment will be selected having regard to the risks of each work activity, the level of protection required and the needs of individual employees.

All PPE will be sourced from competent suppliers and where required for a role will be issued without charge to individual employees

15.3 Display Screen Equipment

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 apply if you habitually use display screen equipment (DSE) as a significant part of your normal work. This includes for any alphanumeric or graphic display screen, such as fixed computers and mobile devices.

If your role includes the above, the Charity will:

  • Request a self-assessment of your workstation is undertaken annually to reduce any risks. This applies whether you work within Charity premises or from home.
  • Ensure your workstation meets the minimum requirements of the Regulations.
  • Provide guidance on how you can plan DSE work so that you have regular breaks from your screen which may include changes of activity;
  • Provide you with information and training; and
  • Provide you with access for eyesight tests, where requested.

15.4 Fire Safety

The Charity undertakes fire risk assessments to identify the measures necessary to comply with current fire safety and prevention codes and to ensure that fire hazards are either eliminated or strictly controlled

Trustees and the Executive Team are responsible for the provision and maintenance of fire prevention and detection equipment. All equipment will be regularly inspected and tested and records are maintained.

All employees have a duty to report immediately any fire, smoke or potential fire hazards to the fire service and to comply with fire precautions and procedures. In emergencies the fire service should be contacted by calling 999.

We all have a duty to conduct activities in such a way as to minimise the risk of fire. This involves keeping combustible materials separate from sources of ignition and avoiding unnecessary accumulation of combustible materials.

Additional fire safety and evacuation procedures are available on the Charity’s intranet.

15.5 Electricity

Our employees are not permitted to carry out electrical repairs or to work on the electrical installation unless under instruction from a qualified electrician.

All work on electrical installations are carried out by qualified electricians, who are required to follow standard working practices as defined by IET guidance and the Electricity at Work Regulations. It is the Charity’s policy that live working is prohibited, although live testing is permitted with appropriate controls and suitable equipment.

All installations in Charity premises will be tested and inspected periodically by a competent electrician and improvements implemented as necessary to ensure its continuing safety.

15.6 Manual handling

Certain aspects of our business involve manual handling activities. Where we have not been able to eliminate the manual handling risk we undertake detailed risk assessments and implement risk control measures for the protection of our staff, e.g. training, PPE, safe methods of work, trolleys etc.

Employees are advised of the outcome of risk assessments and the required risk control measures including safe lifting techniques. They are instructed to report to their manager any health concerns that may make manual handling less safe for them.

Particular caution should be taken for manual handling when working alone. See Lone Worker Policy and risk assessment for further information.

15.7 Working from home

Staff who work all or partly from home will be provided with suitable IT equipment by the Charity.

Annual DSE Self-Assessments should be undertaken by homeworkers to re-affirm their environment for suitability for work. Any issues flagged during these assessments will be addressed as soon as is reasonably possible and relevant DSE-related equipment purchased for the homeworker.

It is the responsibility of the homeworker to inform their Line Manager or the Facilities Manager if DSE-related issues occur throughout the year, outside of the annual review period.

It is the responsibility of the homeworker to report accidents in the homeworking environment to their Line Manager or the Facilities Manager.

15.8 Smoking at Work

We are committed to ensuring that all our employees can enjoy a smoke-free work environment. We therefore do not allow smoking of any kind inside any Charity premises. All employees must:

  • Only smoke in designated smoking areas.
  • Only smoke during designated break times.
  • Keep smoking breaks to a minimum and ensure they are as brief as possible.
  • Smoke away from Charity premises (e.g. not in doorways near our premises).
  • Apply the above principles when using electronic cigarettes or equivalent; and
  • Dispose of cigarette butts and other litter appropriately.

If you are found smoking in an area where smoking is not permitted, you may be subject to disciplinary action, which could lead to dismissal.

15.9 Other specific hazards

We have also identified a number of additional areas of risk and documented separate policies/procedures applicable for those employees exposed to additional hazards, or in operations where the exposure to hazards may be more frequent. Operating procedures and safety guidance will be given in these areas in relevant operations and for relevant roles as appropriate.


Appendix 1 - Key guidelines

All employees, volunteers, members and learners (including apprentices) should be aware of, respect and adhere to the rules and procedures contained in this policy statement.

All employees, volunteers, members and learners should immediately report any unsafe practices or conditions to the relevant authority

Any person under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating drug which might impair motor skills or judgment, whether prescribed or otherwise, should not be undertaking work or other activities within our premises

Any person whose levels of alertness and / or ability are reduced due to illness or fatigue will not be allowed to continue with their work if this might jeopardise the health and safety of that person or any other person.

No one should adjust, move or otherwise tamper with any electrical equipment, machinery or air or water lines in a manner not within the scope of their duties, unless instructed to do so by a senior member of staff.

All waste materials must be disposed of carefully and in such a way that they do not constitute a hazard to other workers.

No-one should undertake a job which appears to be unsafe.

No-one should undertake a job until he or she has received adequate safety instruction and is authorised to carry out the task.

All accidents and near misses must be reported to a member of staff for recording in our accident records