“Book of Safety Promises”
When looking at auditing a companies safety program you first need to establish what you are going to audit and based on what reference point. You always need a reference point or benchmark in which to audit to. So where to begin? The first step I like to start with is the company’s safety policy manual.
I have stopped calling these safety policy manuals and have started to call them “companies and employees book of safety promises”. I have found that by making it personal, the book of safety promises becomes a living-breathing document that has more of a chance being referenced and used. After all, is a safety manual not a book of procedures and commitments to safety that the organization has committed to doing?
The first step in the audit is to audit the policies, procedures and safety promises the organization has committed too. Are they accurate, up-to-date and does the organization know what’s in this book of safety promises? It is interesting to see what the client does not realize they have written in their policies. These safety policies will be referenced by the Ministry of Labour should an incident happen in your workplace. Therefore, they need to reflect exactly what the organization does.
Yes you can buy cookie cutter safety policies however just remember once adopted that is the reference point or standard you will be held accountable too.
Who is in charge of the safety policy manual? Who keeps it up to date? Who communicates any updates? Is it one person (typically this is the case)?
The majority of safety consulting request we receive are from companies wanting us to audit their safety programs. The management team wants to know if they are compliant with the health and safety laws and regulations. A very good question to be asked indeed. The conversation usually starts off by them saying we only need a quick audit to confirm we are compliant. My first 2 questions back to the client is, 1) do you have a safety policy manual and 2) when was the last time it was updated. More often than not the answer is yes we have a policy manual that was written some time ago and not sure if its been updated, “I am sure it has been”. This leading indicator is usually a good sign to me how they will fair in the audit. In other words if the client does not know what is in the policy manual how can you ensure compliance? I will ask to see the policy manual and well that’s a challenge at times. Who’s shelf is it sitting on? Sound familiar.
The Safety Book of Promises (Safety Policy Manual) is the foundation and cornerstone of any safety program. It’s the reference point, the go to book, and the safety promises the executives have committed to. Without a solid accurate safety book of promises your safety program will fail.
My next blog I will tackle the logistic nightmare of maintaining and implementing your Book Of Safety Promises. I will discuss the concept of safety element champions and sharing the safety expertise and responsibility through out the organization.
Till the next blog stay safe and contact us if you would like a safety review or audit of your “Book of Safety Promises”.
Jamie Wright CRSP, CHSC
Mentor Safety Consultants Inc.