Health & Safety

Gardening health & safety

Health & Safety in the garden information

Creating Health & Safety Policies 
'By law (Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 section 2(3)) if you employ five or more people you must have a written health and safety policy. This contains your statement of general policy on health and safety at work and the organisation and arrangements in place for putting that policy into practice. It then contains sections in which to record your organisational responsibilities and your arrangements to ensure the health and safety of your employees. The document also contains notes and references for further information.
1.Health and safety policy statement - Statement of general policy, signed and dated
2. Responsibilities - overall, day-to-day, specific areas
3. Health and safety risks - what they are, action needed to remove / control, who is responsible, time for review
4. Consultation with employees - who are the employee representatives, who provides consultation
5. Safe plant and equipment - who is responsible for identifying when maintenance is needed, who draws up maintenance procedures, who to report problems to, who purchases new equipment
6. Safe handling and use of substances - who identifies hazardous substances, who is responsible for undertaking COSHH assessments, informing employees, reviewing assessments
7. Information, instruction and supervision - where is the Health and Safety Law Poster displayed or who issues the equivalent leaflets, who supervises and trains new recruits and young workers
8. Competency for tasks and training - who provides induction training, job specific training, keeps training records
9. Accidents, first aid and work related ill health - who requires, arranges and keep records of health surveillance, where is the first aid equipment stored, who is the appointed person / first aider, who keeps records, who reports under RIDDOR
10. Monitoring - who monitors conditions and safe working practices, who investigates accidents and work related sickness
11. Emergency procedures - who carries out fire risk assessments, how often are the following are checked: escape routes, fire extinguishers, alarms, evacuation procedures.
The policy statement should be reviewed and possibly revised in the light of experience, or because of operational or organisational changes. It is useful to review the policy regularly (e.g. annually).'

The Health & Safety Executive have a very useful step by step guide on how to write a health and safety policy at
With a template and an example policy also available at

For an general overview of health and safety in a garden project see the FCFCG Scotland Community Garden Starter Pack Section 13 How do we manage health & safety  free to download from

Risk Assessment 
Most of the questions we are asked about health and safety in the garden is about risk assessment. 
Here are two examples of completed risk assessment forms used in therapeutic gardening projects. They may be of some help to you in deciding what to include in your own risk assessment forms :
Example of completed risk assessment form - slips, trips, falls and using hand tools
Example of completed risk assessment form - young people, behaviour, injury from plants

Managing hand washing & appropriate clothing
Garden Organic has straightforward advice on hand washing, gloves, appropriate footwear available at

Clean Hands Zone Toolkit
The  FCFCG has designed a set of free-to-use, highly accessible Health & Safety signs to encourage  visitors to wash their hands. In addition,  guidance on best practice in writing text (information and instructions) to make leaflets and notices more accessible, and some generic advice about signs and signage, is free to download from

Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)
These can be be liquids, fumes, dusts, gases, biological agents/sources of infection. For garden projects, this may mean petrol and oil, pesticides or herbicides  e.g. derris dust,Round-up, Propane gas cylinders etc.
Click here for an example of a completed COSHH risk assessment form for the use of petrol a garden project.
For more COSHH information and step by step guides see