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Health and Safety Policy

Last updated: July 31, 2017

What Does Health and Safety Policy Mean?

A health and safety policy describes a course of action that has been chosen to influence workplace decision-making and guide actions related to workplace health and safety.

Health and safety policies commonly exist as a body of regulations that are defined at the level of government and are implemented by individual workplaces. In some jurisdictions, public intermediary corporations may also be used to develop policies.

Safeopedia Explains Health and Safety Policy

Health and safety policies can be promulgated at the governmental national, sub-national, and local levels through public oversight corporations and within the workplace. Regulations by organizations from OSHA and other national occupational health and safety organizations oblige employers to enact an array of safety policies. As regulations are frequently industry-specific, the extensiveness of the employer’s policymaking obligations depends on the particular industry to which the employer belongs. Workplaces also create safety policies to satisfy their general duty to provide a safe workplace rather than practice ad-hoc enforcement of safety measures.

The regulatory emphasis that is placed on workplace health and safety policies varies widely by jurisdiction. The level of legally required workplace policymaking in the United States is significantly different across individual states.

In the Netherlands, each company holds the primary responsibility for determining safety policy, but employers and employees must mutually agree on all policies. Some sectors of Dutch industry are bound by “declarations of intent”—collections of government-recognized policies that companies can choose from to meet their legal obligations.

Furthermore, all jurisdictions in Canada require employers to have an active program of health and safety policies available in the workplace. In the province of Ontario, this consists of both a statement of policy and an explicit program of policy implementation measures. These workplace policies must be updated annually and are expected to reflect both regulatory obligations and the input of employees.


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