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Jan 2, 2015

Welcome to the first in a series of introductory episodes about safety and health management. I wanted to release a series of episodes that break down important aspects of safety and health before I dive into specific things you need to do in order to manage safety in your business.

The overall safety and health management system, or safety program, refers to everything you are doing within the company to manage safety. This includes training, audits, written programs, surveys, etc. This episode, we will focus primarily on the part of the written manual of that system.

Now, most companies have specific things in mind when looking at safety and its benefits, such as reducing the costs of downtime, and workers' compensation premiums, etc. Because the underlying cause of accidents is directly related to the safety program (or lack of a safety program), then having effective safety and health management systems and processes is critical. Yet, many companies do not have these systems or processes or have comprehensive manuals describing each of their safety programs.

Written safety manuals are only an indication of top management support for safety and health. In order to ensure everyone understands their role, what is expected of them and what to expect regarding safety, the company needs to develop a comprehensive safety program with written safety manuals for each topic covered. Having a formal written program helps you to define and direct the safety effort; ensure that the programs cover all major safety issues on a topic-by-topic basis, organizing the safety information in an accessible and logical order.

Developing a written safety program (which includes manuals and procedures) can take time and a considerable amount of money, but in return, it provides a company and its employees with:


  • Communication of known safety hazards associated with tasks, equipment, processes, facilities, etc.
  • Well-established goals and objectives
  • A Mission statement & written commitment to safety
  • Written standards and expectations of management & employees
  • Clear boundaries, and disciplinary actions for failure to follow safety guidelines
  • Defined safety roles and responsibilities for managers, supervisors, and employees
  • Establishment of a safety budget