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Safety Policy

Last updated: March 25, 2019

What Does Safety Policy Mean?

A safety policy is a set of plans and strategies aimed at achieving specific safety outcomes. It is an organization's written statement detailing its commitment to protecting the health and safety of its employees and the surrounding community. It will also detail the measures the company will take to ensure that protection.

The contents of a safety policy often surpass the minimal safety requirements set out of by regulatory authorities or the standard practices of the industry.

Safeopedia Explains Safety Policy

The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires all workplaces with five or more employees to develop a safety policy and review it annually.

Key Elements of a Safety Policy

Generally, a safety policy will have three sections:

  • Statement of the policy, which outlines the organization's aims and objectives regarding safety.
  • Responsibility, which states who is charged with implementing, enacting, and tracking each element of the policy. By listing the names, positions, and duties of different members of the organization, it establishes the reporting lines in the management structure.
  • Arrangements or procedures, which details the organization's safety procedures. including the specific systems and procedures that assist in implementing the statement.

Reviewing the Effectiveness of a Safety Policy

Once implemented, a safety policy should be monitored regularly to ensure its ongoing effectiveness. This can be achieved by:

  • Using key performance indicators to track health and safety targets
  • Assessing the effectiveness of safety training
  • Conducting regular audits of the safety policy

A safety policy must be reviewed at least once a year; however, doing so more frequently is advisable if there are any changes to the work environment or working conditions that could affect the policy or the safety of workers.

If the policy is modified following a review, the revised policy must be communicated to all employees and relevant parties.

Following a simple policy checklist can ensure that it meets the needs of the organization. This can include some of the folllowing questions:

  • Does the policy convey a commitment to health and safety?
  • Are all the obligatons toward employees excplicitly stated?
  • Is the senior officer responsible for implementing and keeping the policy identified?
  • Is the policy signed by a senior executive?
  • Did the policy take the views of managers, safety professionals, workers, and other relevant parties into account?
  • Does the policy clearly allocate duties for health and safety and are all the responsibilities described?
  • Does it describe workers' role in health and safety matters?
  • Is a copy of the safety policy available to every member of the organization?
  • Was the policy reviewed with the health and safety committee?
  • Does the policy clearly state that the ultimate responsibility for safety is with senior management?
  • Are all members of the organization aware of their legal responsibility?

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