A safety manual is the most critical step in establishing a committed occupational health and safety policy within a company.
By having such a document in black and white, workers, managers and owners of the company can have a clear roadmap to direct their safety concerns and, at the same time, a detailed list of actions that need to be taken to avoid hazards.
So, what should a safety manual contain?
Each company adapts its safety manual according to its own interests and needs, but there is a minimum number of topics that must be covered according to the laws that regulate health and safety in companies.
Risk assessment and control:
A detailed report of the company’s current situation, analyzing each of the risks to which it is exposed in order to find solutions.
Company health and safety policies
Once the risks in the company are analyzed, a compilation of the strategies to be applied and new company policies regarding work routine and risk management should be made.
Safe practices guide:
Each of the company’s routines should be discussed, ensure to find a way to make them as safe as possible and implement this detailed guide by sharing it to the rest of the workers.
General safe work procedure:
All guides, procedures and policies should be supplemented to establish a standardized practice that all employees can apply.
In order for the implementation of changes to be effective, a motivational strategy must be defined that includes rules, incentives and reprimands.
Where machinery, equipment and even a complex structure are used, regular evaluation and maintenance should be scheduled and a record of compliance with this should be kept.
Preparation for emergencies:
The team should know how to respond in case of accidents and disasters. Through an action plan, they can be prepared to act in unexpected cases.
Personal protective equipment:
Make changes in the use of uniforms and protective gear, apply a supervisory method for the application of these items.
This plan on how to disseminate information and changes in the company’s safety must also be in writing in order to be implemented, and training methods, practices and drills must be established so that everyone is aware of them.
Inspections and reporting methodology:
Define the evaluation period needed to evaluate changes and the reports to be issued.
A statistical analysis of the effectiveness of the changes should be included and a record of this should be kept.
Where applicable, companies should be committed to environmental and community safety; having a plan to prevent pollution is vital.
Hazardous materials or substances management:
It depends on the industry in which each company operates. However, a manual of guidelines is important to avoid incidents with high-risk elements.
In most cases, this is what a safety manual will contain. However, this is not a limiting list. On the contrary, it can be expanded by adding the number of items that are considered necessary to apply in a company.
The more comprehensive a security manual is, the more risks will be under control.