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A winning recipe for any safety program is your health and safety manual. It helps establish the proper procedures for employees to work in a safe capacity. A good health and safety manual will also specify how management intends to relate health and safety issues in a way that creates a safe environment for all concerned. The following are a few ideas to consider when writing your manual.
1. Get the right mix of people together to share ideas and write the manual. Since safety starts from the top down, management needs to be an integral part of this process. Employees should also get involved, as they will be affected most by the policies and are the ones completing the task.
2. Add flavoring that's industry and company specific. Review manuals from other companies that conduct similar work. This will give you a good idea of where to start and some of the policies needed for a safe and effective workplace. When conducting research for the manual, identify specific hazards relative to your industry. Ask employees how they would like to see their jobs performed safer. Also set specific responsibilities for different personnel to ensure every type of employee, from management down, has some sort of responsibility when it comes to safety.
3. Use organic and fresh materials. When writing the manual, ensure that not only the sections required by OSHA are in place, but try to include best practices policies as well. Write an organizational statement from management about the company's commitment to a safe and healthy workplace. The manual should include the company's chosen discipline program, so employees understand any consequences and discipline can be enforced fairly and consistently.
Having a properly written health and safety manual will help mitigate the cost of incidents and injuries that a company may sustain. OSHA documented the average savings, which can be found below.
- Each avoided occupational fatality saves $910,000
- Each prevented injury or illness resulting in time away from work saves $28,000
- Each serious injury or illness avoided saves $7,000
Imagine the impact this would have on the company as a whole and on the bottom line at the end of the year. For help with starting or amending your health and safety manual, contact a risk management professional.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jay Shelton is the Senior Vice President of Executive Risk at Assurance. With nearly 20 years of experience in the risk management experience, Jay leads the Executive Risk Team which focuses on both publicly traded and privately held Directors & Officers Liability, Errors & Omissions, Cyber, Crime, Employment Practices, Management Liability and other executive management coverages. His main responsibility is to identify and evaluate clients’ exposure and implement programs that will minimize risk. Jay is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He earned a Master's degree in Business Administration from Notre Dame University and Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Indiana University. Jay is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, Professional Liability Underwriter Society (PLUS) and Risk Management Society (RIMS).