The purpose of a safety policy is to:
- Set out management’s commitment to safety
- Set out the organisation and arrangements for controlling work related hazards
- Protect people from injury and occupational ill health
- Comply with legal requirements and avoid prosecution
- Manage health and safety on a cost effective basis
The policy should also be reviewed on a regular basis.
In the case of employers engaged in a number of different activities or where the operations are geographically widespread the policy may require formulation on more than one level. The highest management level should lay down in writing the central policy principles while the sub-groups or operational units interpret the policy in a realistic written form to suit the identified local needs. There is no standard policy that suits all types of organizations. A large organisation may well require a far more complex policy than a small company employing a small number of employees.
However, as a general guide the usual safety policy consists of the 3 elements of:
1) General Policy (A statement on Intent)
2) The Organisation
3) The Arrangements
Demonstrate management’s commitment to health and safety and set goals and objectives. (What)
To identify health and safety responsibilities and reporting lines within the company. (Who)
Set out in detail the specific systems and procedures for implementing the safety policy. (How)
The General Policy statement should be a declaration of the employer’s intent to seek to provide the safest and healthiest working conditions possible. For large organizations a policy cannot be expected to cover every aspect of the activities, and a central services department, (e.g. Personnel) from which the policy usually emanates, cannot begin individual department.
The initial statement then must by necessity be of a general nature, outlining the intention of the company to provide a safe place of work and specifying the objectives of the company and the means by which these objectives may be met. It should be produced at the highest level of responsibility within the company, clearly indicating the commitment of the most senior management to the principle of ensuring and maintaining safety and health at work. The statement of intent is usually brief and is normally not more than 1 side of A4 paper.
(Get the full syllabus from the February issue of the Safety Messenger Magazine 2015)