Rebooting the 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 on boarding along with a checklist and some other documents to read and sign to demonstrate your understanding.

The policy was 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 keeps 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 at 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?