The health and safety (H&S) policy is a written plan of action that shows you care about your worker’s well-being. The H&S policy should address the hazards faced by your workers and your responsibility towards them.
Section 25(2)(j) of the OHSA stipulates that the employer must have an H&S policy if more than five workers are regularly employed.
You should also periodically and at least annually review and update the policy based on internal and external factors.
Benefits of having an H&S policy
- Compliance with OHSA
- Demonstrate management commitment
- Prove that safety and bottom line are compatible
- Clearly state safety beliefs, principles, objectives, and strategies
- Set safe work practices to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses
- Outline employer and employee accountability and responsibilities
Creating an H&S Policy
There are a few essential elements that must be considered when creating an H&S policy:
- Positive tone
- Clear and concise language
- Periodic reviews and updates
- Signed by senior management or president
A third party can write the policy, but top management must provide guidance and actively participate in its creation. It should be signed and dated by a senior executive, as they are responsible for the content.
You must NOT COPY the H&S policy from another business. The policy has to be customized to the needs of your business. There is no one-policy-fits-all.
However, you can take a sample policy and tailor it for your business. The length of the policy depends on the types of tasks and hazards present. For example, the Ontario Public H&S Policy is detailed and specifies the responsibilities of each party. To minimize legal ramifications, it’s best to make your policy vague.
A sample health and safety policy is provided below.
Health and Safety Policy Sample
STS Group values the health, safety, and well-being of our workers. We understand that it is our duty to nurture a mindset of continual improvement when it comes to workplace safety. All workplace parties hold a responsibility to speak up when they witness unsafe behavior or processes.
As your employer, STS Group will take every precaution reasonable to prevent workplace injury and illness. We will go beyond the bare minimum standards for health and safety outlined in the OHSA. Our goal is to proactively prevent workplace accidents.
I, president of STS Canada, personally promise to uphold our company values – Worker Safety, Accountability, Integrity, and Continuous Improvement.
In collaboration with the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC), STS Group will identify and address workplace hazards. Safe work practices, policies, and procedures will be clearly communicated and made easily accessible to all workers. Training will be provided before the use of any machinery, and routine inspections will take place to ensure its safe operation.
Supervisors must be competent and duly diligent toward the safety of the workers under their supervision. They are responsible for conducting routine workplace inspections, providing training to workers, and keeping documentation.
Every worker will receive the training and information necessary to perform their duties safely. Workers have a duty to follow regulations, company policies, procedures, and any other applicable laws. All workers have the right to refuse work if they believe it to be unsafe.
Suppliers and contractors must have policies that align with our safety policy and program. Sub-contractors and visitors on-site will be informed of our safety program, policies, and procedures.
The internal responsibility system is a core principle of STS Group. It is in our best interest to look out for each other so we can all go home safe.
President of STS Canada