Health and Safety Policy
The Health & Safety (H&S) Policy is a vital creation towards improving safety in any organization. It shows to all parties (employees, suppliers, share holders) that management is very serious in its commitment to improving safety. It sets the stage for what is expected by everyone in the organization. It sets out the organization's aims and objectives, and assigns responsibility as how these aims and objectives will be achieved. To top it all off, in many jurisdictions it is a legal requirement that organizations have a H&S Policy. There are three main areas in the H&S Policy.
- General Statement: States the organization's philosophy on the H&S management. It is vital that top management (or CEO) sign this statement, to show all involved, especially the floor workers, that they are committed. This statement should also be dated so there is a reference point.
- Organization: Shows the chain of command, from top management to floor supervisors e.g. who will do what, when, and how. A chart should also be included which outlines the lines of communication that exist within the organization. There needs to be open lines of communication, both vertical and horizontal.
- Arrangements: The most comprehensive area and includes things such as:
- Risk assessments.
- Providing instruction and training.
- Monitoring of compliance, and perhaps auditing.
- Methods on reporting accidents, near-misses, and any investigations.
- Information on safety groups and meetings.
- Assuring that proper safe systems of work and permit-to-work systems are in place.
- Assuring that efficient emergency and first aid procedures are in place.
The H&S Policy must be made available to every worker, either by email, hard copy, or perhaps posted on an accessible bulletin board – whatever makes more sense in the work environment. This policy should be reviewed in the event of an accident, as requested by a government body, as requested by the insurance company providing coverage, if there is significant staff turn-over, management staff changes, work procedures change significantly, or the work environment changes.