Why Have a Health and Safety Policy?

June 22, 2017

Why Have a Health and Safety Policy?

By law, all organizations, employing five or more people, must have a written Health and Safety Policy statement. The policy should cover all aspects of the organisation and be relevant to all employees.

A Health and Safety Policy demonstrates how seriously an organisation takes its’ health and safety responsibilities and how it protects those who could be affected by its’ activities.

How to Prepare an Occupational Health and Safety Policy

This information is intended to help workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and Regulations.

Under the OHSA, an employer must prepare and review at least annually a written occupational health and safety policy, and must develop and maintain a program to implement that policy [clause 25(2)(j)].

A clear, concise policy statement reflects management's commitment, support and attitude to health and safety for the protection of workers. This statement should be signed by the employer and/or the highest level of management at the workplace, thus indicating employer and senior management commitment.

Contact Workplace Safety Group for a free Health and Safety Policy sample.

Note: A workplace violence policy and a workplace harassment policy are required of all workplaces covered by Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

In addition to preparing a health and safety policy, the employer must also have a program in place to implement that policy. This is in the form of the health and safety manual which outlines how policy is actioned. Each program will vary, depending upon the hazards encountered in a particular workplace. Program elements may include all or some of the following:

  • Worker training, e.g., new workers, WHMIS, new job procedures
  • Workplace inspections and hazard analysis
  • Analysis of the accidents and illnesses occurring at the workplace
  • A formal means of communication to address promptly the concerns of workers
  • Confined space entry procedure
  • Lock out procedure
  • Machine guarding
  • Material handling practices and procedures
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Housekeeping
  • Protective equipment
  • Emergency procedures
  • First aid and rescue procedures
  • Electrical safety
  • Fire prevention
  • Engineering controls, e.g. ventilation

Contact WSG for an assessment of your workplace policy and procedures needs.