Employers are required by Canadian health and safety law to have a workplace health and safety program. An efficient OHS program is defined and promoted with the use of a written occupational health and safety policy. Such a policy ought to express the employer's dedication to a safe and healthy work environment, be endorsed by top management, be reviewed frequently, and be revised as necessary. The writing and implementation of an OHS policy for the workplace will be aided by this text.
Describe a policy.
According to CSA Standard Z45001-19, ""Occupational health and safety management systems — Requirements with guidelines for usage,"" an organization's top management must publicly state the aims and direction of the business in its OHS policy. A policy is described as ""a plan of action; a course or method of action that has been consciously decided and that guides or influences future actions"" in the Gage dictionary. Therefore, a policy on occupational health and safety directs actions. A policy demonstrates how committed an organization is to employee health and safety. The expression of the employers' duty should be to uphold or, in an ideal world, go beyond their legal obligations.
What attributes a successful policy statement?
The structure and content of business policies vary greatly. However, the clarity with which they distinguish between functional responsibilities and authority is more significant than their personal preferences. For a policy to be effective, it must: acknowledge that the employer is ultimately responsible for employee health and safety; involve senior management and worker representatives in its creation; hold all levels of management accountable for fulfilling health and safety obligations; commit the organization to being, at the very least, compliant with all applicable OHS legislation and other requirements; and be viewed as concise. be equally important to the organization's other policy goals, well-documented, posted, communicated, and accessible to all parties (including employees and outside parties with an interest), and constantly improved. The policy should also cover the following: the accountability of all levels of management for carrying out health and safety responsibilities; the significance of consultation and cooperation between management and employees for effective implementation of policy and any related programs; and the responsibilities of appropriate personnel in maintaining a healthy and safe workplace to protect the well-being of all individuals in the organization.
Who ought to draft the policy?
The creation of the policy may be assigned by the employer. The health and safety committee or representative, employees or their representatives, and management should all have input into the creation of the policy. However, because the written policy statement is a promise to workers, the employer is ultimately in charge of determining its substance. The organization's senior executive should endorse, date, and sign it (e.g., the president or chief executive officer).
How is the policy put into practice?
OHS policies are frequently carried out by means of one or more documented procedures. According to the CSA Standard Z45001-19, ""Occupational health and safety management systems — Requirements with guidelines for usage,"" a procedure is a ""determined manner to carry out an action or a process."" These are some of the important factors to think about. The procedure should: outline the plans put in place to support and carry it out. It is important to list things like safety meetings, safe working practices, occupational hygiene, and education and training. discuss the several risks that the organization faces. The employer may need to be extremely explicit and detailed in outlining hazards depending on the types of jobs performed and the hazards involved. talk about how staff members actively and consistently contribute to achieving the goals. be periodically modified. They must stay current with workplace developments, industry ""good practice"" recommendations, and any relevant laws, rules, or regulations.
How can the policy be applied in an efficient manner?
The organizational structure has OHS responsibilities that are clearly defined, assigned, communicated, and applied. Accountability mechanisms have also been established, program activities and procedures that support the OHS policy have been put in place, and financial and other resources have been made available. Finally, the workplace has clearly defined and understood responsibilities for carrying out the policy's goals. Tips: While the list of tasks assigned must be comprehensive and tailored to the nature of the work and organizational structure, avoid being so detailed that it encourages employees to interpret the policy in an overly legalistic manner. For instance, it might not be necessary to specify in a policy what kind of personal protective equipment each employee must wear; instead, a policy could simply state that everyone is required to wear whatever personal protective equipment the employer specifies and as dictated by the nature of their jobs. This amount of information may be included in a procedure as needed. Generally speaking, procedures are more adaptable, and this manner enables modifications to be made when the situation calls for them. To ensure that policy objectives are incorporated into all actions, responsibility should be spread throughout the organizational structure. For example, a policy could specify: individual responsibilities, legal responsibilities, accountability systems, promotion of health, safety, and well-being awareness, education and training needs, reporting and correcting health and safety deficiencies, and injury and illness control information.
How should the policy be communicated?
The policy must be communicated to relevant parties in languages they understand. Ways in which the OHS policy and responsibilities can be communicated include through: orientation (induction) and on-going training, health and safety committees, job descriptions, website, notice board postings, and reminders, safety talks, meetings, and refresher training, senior management attendance at safety meetings, and demonstration of senior management commitment through effective review and response to committee recommendation inspection reports, incident investigations, and health and safety program evaluations.
How can the effectiveness of the policy be monitored?
After the OHS policy has been prepared and implemented, it must be monitored to assess its effectiveness. The policy must be updated where improvements are needed. Some ways to monitor the effectiveness of the OHS policy include: Using key performance indicators to track progress in meeting OHS goals and targets (e.g., ensuring preventive maintenance is completed, safety meetings are held, and inspections are completed, situations reported are addressed appropriately and in a timely manner), Training effectiveness reviews, Regularly auditing and reviewing the OHS policy and program
How and when should the policy be reviewed?
How often the policy must be reviewed must be established. The frequency may be required by applicable OHS legislation. It is recommended that the OHS policy be reviewed at least annually. A review may also be conducted before the scheduled revision date, especially when there is a change to the workplace that affect the policy, or the health and safety of workers. The OHS policy must be recommunicated to all relevant parties whenever it is revised.
What is an example of a policy checklist to review an existing or new policy?
In review, here is a sample of a series of questions that could be used as a """"Yes / No"""" checklist: Does the statement express a commitment to health, safety, and well-being? Are obligations towards employees made clear? Does it say which senior officer is responsible for seeing that it is implemented and for keeping it under review, and how this will be done? Is it signed by a senior executive? Have the views of managers and supervisors, safety professionals, and health and safety committees or representatives, and workers been taken into account? Were the duties set out in the statement discussed with the people concerned? Do they understand how their performance is to be assessed and what resources they have to carry out their tasks safely? Does the statement make clear that cooperation on the part of all workers is vital to the success of the health and safety policy? Does it say how workers are to be involved in health and safety matters, for example, by being consulted, by taking part in inspections, or by participating on a health and safety committee? Does it show clearly how the duties for health and safety are allocated, and are the responsibilities at different levels described? Does it say who is responsible for the following matters? Investigation reports and incident records. Fire precautions and evacuation procedures. First aid. Safety inspections. Education and training program. Ensuring legal requirements are met. Is management solely responsible for providing a healthy and safe working environment? Is the employer's concern for health and safety as great as concern for financial and marketing matters? Does it include the names of individual managers who are responsible for making the safety policy work in specific areas or departments? Does it state the employer's duty to give education and training in health and safety to all workers? Does it outline the development and maintenance of health and safety roles and procedures? Does it include planned programs for health and safety at work? Does it ensure that health and safety matters will be taken into account when planning new methods processes or premises? Does it include arrangements for disclosing information, including multilingual information, on health and safety and well-being matters? Do all workers have copies of their employer's health and safety policy? Are health and safety committees or representatives consulted about periodic revisions and updating of the employer's health and safety policy? Has the policy been reviewed with the health and safety committee? Does it state who will review the policy and how often it will be reviewed? Are there effective arrangements for drawing the policy to the attention of all workers? Is the delegation of duties logical and successive throughout the organization? Is it clear that the ultimate responsibility for safety rests with senior management? Are the responsibilities of senior managers written into the policy or into job descriptions? Are there procedures and controls in place that ensure accountability? Is health and safety performance an essential ingredient of performance appraisals? Do line managers understand and accept the nature of their health and safety responsibilities? Are there arrangements for liaison with contractors? Are all individuals aware of their legal responsibilities?"""