Write and Communicate a Safety and Health Policy Statement
Why Write a Policy Statement?
Writing a safety and health policy statement is not about writing a document, placing it somewhere and then forgetting about it. A policy statement aims to achieve the following objectives, some of which are also highlighted by OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs:
- Show that safety and health are core values at your organization.
- Highlight management’s commitment to safety and health.
- Give a high-level overview of the main elements and goals of your safety and health program.
- Help promote safety and health by communicating the policy to:
- Contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and vendors
- Customers and business partners
- NGOs, industry associations
- Other stakeholders
What Is Included in the Policy Statement?
Policy statements vary, but the following elements, identified by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, should be covered at a minimum:
- Commitment by senior management to establish a safe and healthy workplace.
- Commitment to integrate safety and health into all workplace activities, the selection of contractors, purchasing, and facility design and changes.
- Commitment to comply with all applicable legal requirements. It would be even better if the policy expressed an intention to go beyond compliance.
- Responsibility of personnel to maintain a safe workplace.
- Accountability of all levels of management for carrying out safety and health responsibilities.
- Importance of communication and cooperation between management and employees.
- Commitment to continuous improvement through regular reviews of the policy.
- Commitment to monitor the policy’s effectiveness.
- Commitment to adequately fund all elements of the safety and health program.
Finally, the policy statement must be signed by one or two senior executives. It must also be easily accessible to all employees, preferably through an internal portal or site.
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Download NAEM’s “How to Successfully Deploy an EHS&S Software System” report to learn more about six steps that will help you start and stay on the right track as you introduce an EHS&S application that can deliver tangible benefits: