Safety Policies and Procedures  

What makes great safety policy and procedures?

How often have you completed a safety induction and then been handed a mountain of safety policies and procedures to read? Some might even be applicable to the job you have to do, but many won’t.

Getting through the induction is one thing but navigating your way through the safety policy and procedures that may follow the induction can sure be a challenge for most workers. Documents are often  complex and technical and often wordy. Sometimes they just don’t get to the point.

The best approach is to define what safety policies and procedures are, then provide some key tips on making the policies and procedures meaningful, understood and importantly, “remembered”.

Safety Policy

A safety policy statement is a document to outwardly express commitment to workplace health and safety / occupational health and safety. It’s a way to verbalise “intent” of the organisation and senior leader and, to provide some strategic direction for the organisation’s safety efforts.

At the very least, it always should seek to address:

  1. Commitment of the organisation and the leader (typically the CEO) to health & safety
  2. An aim to reduce the risks to health and safety for  staff, visitors or other people that may be affected by what the organisation does
  3. What the goal is in respect of safety e.g. Injury free / incident free or maybe in the early steps of the organisations health and safety journey…getting a system off the ground
  4. Who is responsible (ultimately senior leadership will be legally responsible) but it should also address who will create the safe working environment, who will implement the safe systems of work, who will provide the supervision and training?

Ultimately senior leaders should see the safety policy statement as the foundation on which to build the framework around a safe organisation.

The  safety policy statement shouldn`t extend beyond one page and is worded in a way that every staff member is capable of reading and understanding it. Consider producing it in other forms if literacy levels are low so it can be embedded in the organisation’s psyche. Info-graphics are also a great way to get the message across and connect with the audience.

While the safety policy is a statement of intent, safety procedures should be about how to undertake specific tasks and processes.

Safety Procedures

Safety procedures define the way work can be performed safely. At OHS Dilligenz we don’t believe there is value in having a specific safety procedure associated with every job/task simply because it adds another layer of complexity on what is expected of staff. Should they only remember the safety?…of course not! We would expect staff to remember all aspects of the job – safety should therefore become a key element of a work procedure.

Our approach at OHS Dilligenz is about defining a procedure to undertake the task, incorporating all facets of the work including safety, quality, environmental responsibility and task performance requirements.

If a job sets out the steps to do a job safely, it may as well set out the quality and environmental aspects as well. Safety procedures must be integrated into daily work to be effective. Ultimately,  procedures will incorporate the risks associated with a work task and list the appropriate risk control measures into a sequence of steps for doing that task safely. Safety is not a separate component of the job and should be integral and intertwined to the task being performed.

Our experience shows that mountains of safety policies and procedures don’t work in most organisations and they end up shelved. Vibrant, integrated safety policies and procedures work well and become part of the organisations culture.

Contact us for help with your Policies & Procedures.