Defining the Policy & It’s Purpose
A health and safety policy contains an organization’s vision and general policy on health and safety at work, as well as information about how the organization puts the policy into action. This policy demonstrates your commitment to health and safety, risk management and compliance with laws and regulations. A clear and thorough health and safety policy will show your facility patrons how your organization protects them. A health and safety policy are a document tailored to each organization, specifically describing who does what, when, and how.
Each organization is different, thus operates different as well. The health and safety policy of each organization will be uniquely different. Before putting together, the policy, facility managers will need to think about specific issues related to their facility. Health and safety staff, as well as cleaning personnel have a significant role in putting the policy together. Cleaning staff can bring their day-to-day experience of the job to the table, and their involvement will boost their motivation and commitment to following the terms of the policy.
They may be other management team members or employees that you may want to include in the policy development. In this case, a flow chart may be necessary to help communicate the different levels of responsibility of each person from top management down to front line cleaning workers. Finally, organizations must conduct a risk assessment and then show how the organization will control identified risks. The health and safety policy should address the findings of the risk assessment and identify the groups of employees at risk.
The content of a health and safety policy is generally organized into three sections:
Statement of Commitment
Your health and safety should include a simple statement of organization’s overall commitment to health and safety. The statement is typically about one page in length and is signed and dated by the highest-ranking person in an organization. The statement identifies specific levels of responsibility within the organization in regard to health and safety. It should state that employees are responsible for their own health and safety, but the organization pledges to provide a safe work environment, including safe equipment and procedures. It should also explain the organization’s commitment to ensuring the health and safety of employees, customers, and other building patrons.
Description of Responsibilities
The second component of a health and safety policy identifies who will management risk assessments, conduct inspections and ensure safety. Larger organizations may need diagrams or charts to show responsibilities of mangers, supervisors, and other employees.
How the Organization Will Reduce Risks
A risk assessment will show that your organization has assessed the risks and then followed through by addressing the risk and considering those who might be affected. Your organization must illustrate how it has dealt with significant hazards, prove that the precautions are reasonable and show that the remaining risks are low. Your organization should ensure the information is easy to understand for employees at all levels and translated if necessary.
Policy Communication and Review
Once the health and safety policy are completed, it is your responsibility to ensure that employees read and understand its content. It is important that senior leaders ask employees for their support and let employees know that eliminating hazards on the job is a personal responsibility for everyone. Finally, your management team should discuss and review the policy annually. Risks change as organizations purchase new equipment or change cleaning procedures; revisiting the policy will help keep health and safety a priority for everyone in your organization.