When’s the Last Time You Reviewed OHS Policies?
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) policies are a staple in any manufacturing environment — especially for factories with ISO and similar certifications to maintain. Solid OHS policies show a commitment to maintaining the health and safety of workers and their work environment. The manufacturing environment is dynamic and ever-changing, and OHS policies need to keep up. How often should companies update OHS policies?
What is an OHS policy and why does it matter?
An OHS policy is a statement of a company’s commitment to the health and safety of its employees. Each segment of a policy must clearly cover the philosophy, values, and goals of a company’s OHS program. It must also include details about the company’s tangible efforts to keep employees safe. Maintaining an OHS policy is the responsibility of both employees and the management team.
All manufacturers must have an OHS policy in place with governance documents that outline the specifics of workplace behavior, environment, policy, procedure, and anything else pertinent to safety. Policies should leave no room for confusion when it comes to best practices.
How often should you update OHS policies?
Manufacturers should update OHS policies regularly and whenever the factory environment changes. Routine checks are advisable whether or not the environment has recently changed. For some companies, this means updating OHS policies every quarter. Others may only require annual updates.
When updating OHS policies, pay special attention to the company’s more prevalent policies — the documents most-applicable to the safe daily operation of the plant. This focus makes it easier to check on policies which require frequent updates. It’s a good idea to check the accuracy of every policy, even the less prevalent ones, at least once a year.
What should OHS policies include?
The main purpose of an OHS policy is to serve as a safety reference for a company’s workforce. While policy items can differ from company to company, there are some items every OHS policy must include:
- A detailed outline
- Plans for annual review
- Managerial commitments to workplace safety
- A detailed list of company health and safety principles
- A statement mandating all employees follow the policy
- A list of employee health and safety responsibilities
To maintain workplace safety, it’s essential to have a good OHS policy in place. A policy featuring all the items listed above is a good starting place, and manufacturers should make their unique policies as broad, or as specific, as their particular workplace conditions require.
Are your OHS policies up to date and complete?
When was the last time you reviewed or revised your company’s OHS policies? It’s essential to routinely update OHS policies, especially the more prevalent ones. In most cases, updates don’t require complete policy rewrites. A routine review for accuracy is usually sufficient.
But a lot can change within a company in a year. Ensure the health and safety of your entire workforce by keeping the company’s OHS policies up to date.