A Policy is not just a flowery statement that the Ministry of Labour (MOL) Inspector ordered the employer to prepare. It’s a document that shows that the employer takes the appropriate measures to protect and promote health and safety in their workplace or workplaces. Every worker should be able to go home at the end of their day in the same physical and mental condition that they came to work in.
The Policy indicates management’s willingness to follow health and safety law, but more importantly, tells workers that they take health and safety seriously, and want to protect their most important asset – their workers. And, unless the business is a one or two person show, without workers, they would be out of business.
The workplace health and safety policy is a worthless piece of paper unless it is actually implemented; hence every every workplace should develop, implement and maintain a current health and safety program. What goes into that program will depend upon the type of business along with other factors such as numbers of workers, hazards inherent in the workplace and types of equipment used.
The written program sets health and safety standards for the various elements of their program including safe operating procedures.
As discussed previously, the policy should be dated and signed by the most senior person in the organization or workplace. This holds true for the health and safety program. Senior management must ensure that someone is held responsible for interpreting the policy and program and ensuring that it is maintained current. An issue date should be posted on each element of the program, and revision dates entered as required.
Why bother with a written policy and program? If your business grows from five workers to eight, the health and safety policy must be put into written form. Where a business or organization has many workplaces, the policy and program will ensure consistency. As well, every worker, supervisor, or manager in the workplace will be aware of exactly what is expected of them in terms of health and safety.
A policy and implementation program is not a flowery statement that the employer can forget about as soon as the Inspector walks out the door and off’s their orders. It is a critical part of their business and should reflect the integrity of the owner, or their top level managers and executives.
June 13, 2017.