Is it Time to Reboot your Workplace Safety Policy?
The humble OHS policy is probably the first safety document you will be exposed to when you join a new company. More often than not, it is emailed out as part of your onboarding along with a checklist and some other documents to read and sign to demonstrate your understanding.
The policy is meant to be a high-level explanation of an organisation’s attitude, beliefs, and commitment to a safe workplace.
In many cases, the message has become diluted and is a repetition of terminology used to meet criteria outlined in various external auditing tools.
What would happen if we stripped it back, took out the jargon and wrote it as if we were talking to people rather than trying to get a ‘tick’ on an auditor’s checklist? I think it would go a little something like this:
“Welcome to ABC company. Thanks for joining us on this exciting journey. Safety is one of the values that keep our company great and we want to share our thoughts about what safety means to us, with you. This business would not exist without each of you and we thank you for what you and your teams do every day.
You are on the front line and can see potential issues, as well as the solutions, much easier than we can. We want you to come and tell us about them so we can act before anyone gets hurt.
We know that no one comes to work expecting to be hurt and we certainly don’t want that to happen to anyone, but we can’t give you a 100% guarantee that it won’t. What we are committing to you is to listen to your concerns, act on them and follow up to make sure things have been fixed properly.
If the solution is going to involve your work area, we will make sure we talk to you about it before anything is put in place. If you do get hurt, we will support you through your recovery to the best of our ability.
At the end of the day, we all want to get home to our families, whether it’s the CEO, a customer service agent or anyone in between. Talk to us, share with us and help us make this workplace as safe as we can.”
How would you re-write your company OHS policy if given the chance?
Stacy Hamilton, Founder of Find It, Fix It, Own It
I’m someone who sort of fell into safety 15 years ago, not really knowing that it was a “real job or career” and I haven’t looked back. I get to combine my love of people and my love of science together and get the best of both worlds, in my opinion. I’m a proud Canadian and Australian and often refer to myself as a CanAussie.
I’ve worked in many different industries including telecommunications, warehousing and logistics, FMCG, local government and manufacturing to name a few. It doesn’t matter the industry, the issues that are presented to me are similar:
How do I get my employees to follow the rules?
How do I build/improve my business’ safety culture?
Why won’t anyone report hazards?
I need a safety manual for x reason
Through the articles I share, I hope to be able to answer these questions for you and many more.
I build safety systems for companies that people want to use (no, really!) and deliver training that people don’t forget when they walk out of the room.
My latest endeavour, which is launching early 2018, is bringing together young and new workers, their parents, their front-line supervisors and the business owners to work out the mystical, magical methods of the importance of personal safety at work and how that can apply to life. It’s the why that goes along with the what and the how (any Simon Sinek fans out there?).
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