Despite their importance, many companies do not have an employee safety manual; if they do, it’s often outdated or too wordy. This is unfavorable for a company as a well-put-together safety manual is an excellent risk management tool.
An employee safety manual can not only prevent workplace injuries and reduce claims, but it can also help improve legal and regulatory compliance. Moreover, it will educate your workers and help them engage in safe workplace practices.
What Is a Safety Manual?
Before you can start developing a safety manual for your company, it’s essential to understand what they are. Simply put, a safety manual is a collection of information, instructions, policies, and procedures with the purpose of ensuring safe operations within the workplace of an organization. Although safety manuals are beneficial for all businesses, companies that operate tools, machinery, chemicals, or food must provide employees with a safety manual.
A solid safety manual will help make sure that employees and employers are on the same page about the responsibilities that come with their specific line of work. It will also help instill a company culture of safety to help protect your business and its employees. Creating one may seem tricky, but with the right help, you can write an effective employee safety manual.
It Must Be Workplace Specific
There are plenty of safety manual templates out there to help you get started. However, they won’t offer specific details that are essential for your company. As an employer, you must research the common standards of your respective industry. Additionally, it’s important that you include the city and state guidelines for your company’s location.
When preparing to write your company’s safety manual, here are a few details to keep in mind:
- Include industry-specific information, but use common language that all readers will be able to understand
- Don’t include any fluff or filler, you want your safety manual to be as straightforward as possible
- Research and familiarize yourself with the ISO standards of your industry
- Involve management to contribute suggestions and feedback
- Include a table of contents at the beginning, and ensure that font size is readable
Once you have a general idea of how to start your safety manual, you will want to focus on the actual content inside.
What To Include
General Health & Safety Policy
Should introduce and go into depth on your company’s overall safety goals. It should include a brief description of how you see employees, management, and regulatory bodies working together toward a safe work environment.
Workplace Hazard Assessment
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to inspect all workplaces and tasks to determine if any hazards are present that would demand the use of Personal Protective Equipment. Here is a step-by-step guide you can use to help identify risks.
General rules and guidelines that apply to all employees of your company. Examples include wearing the right protective equipment, maintaining good housekeeping, or having a zero-tolerance policy for theft.
Safe Work Practices
Documents that outline how employees should perform a job with minimized risk. These often include practices such as good personal hygiene, how to responsibly operate tools and equipment, or proper storage of hazardous materials.
Safe Job Procedures
Instructions to guide workers through a specific task from start to finish. Here is an example from OHSA on stepladders.
Specific industries that use certain equipment require companies to perform mandatory inspections. However, voluntary inspections improve safety measures for all businesses and can help prevent accidents.
Training & Communications
Describes how your company plans to train and communicate with new employees. This is an essential part of unifying your workers towards a common safety goal.
Inspections, Investigations, & Reporting
Describes when and how frequently your company performs inspections, how your company investigates incidents, and the reporting procedure.
Emergencies can occur in any type of business. OSHA offers an in-depth plan on what you need to do to protect employees in an emergency.
Records & Statistics
There are very specific recordkeeping requirements by the OHSA. You can find information on who needs to keep records and important forms you need to submit here.
How Biscayne Risk & Insurance Can Help
As experts in risk management, our team at Biscayne Risk & Insurance is here to help you create an effective safety program. Working with us allows you to identify your company’s risks and develop innovative solutions to prevent accidents and financial loss. No matter what type of industry you operate in, we have the tools to deliver premier services tailored to your needs. Allow us to help you craft an effective employee safety program/manual.