A Health and safety policy is a broad “statement of intent” for your business. It states how you will manage health and safety in general, or certain specific areas e.g. your stance on drugs and alcohol use.
Health and safety procedures are the steps you will take to meet your health and safety policies, for example, “we will do XYZ”. Your procedures should be shared with your workers, as well as businesses you work closely with, so they can understand what procedures you have in place and how to follow them.
The Health and Safety Work Act says workers must “follow all reasonable policy or procedures they have been notified of,” so it’s important that you have both your policies and procedures documented and available to your staff.
These documents will outline your commitment to prompting a safe and healthy workplace and will explain how the business will operate safely and what everyone’s commitment to health and safety looks like. It will also explain what procedures are in place to manage risks, and what to do if something goes wrong.
Businesses are often asked to provide their Policy and Procedures (P&P) document to clients or employers to show their commitment to H&S. For example, a main contractor such as a building company) might ask a plumbing business to provide a copy of their P&P document before they begin working with them. Being able to showcase your standard of health and safety can help you to stand out against the competition.
To create a comprehensive policy and procedures document, you’ll need expertise in health safety, including a deep understanding of relevant legislation and best practice. Seeking assistance from a qualified health and safety advisor is the best option.
Luckily, if you’re a HazardCo member, we’ve created a combined policy and procedures document for you. It’s written by our team of health and safety experts especially for NZ tradies and builders operating in the residential construction industry. If you’re already a member, you can download your policy and procedures document from the HazardCo Hub.
The HazardCo P&P includes policies on Injury Management / Return to Work, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Workplace Discrimination, Harassment, Bullying, Mental Health and Wellbeing and Environmental.
We recommend that you read through the P&P document (make sure it all makes sense – give us a bell if it doesn’t)
The next step is to communicate and consult! Get your team together and have a toolbox meeting to make sure they are aware of all the policies and procedures, and talk to your team about what changes will need to be made within your business. This will assist with making sure that everyone is managing H&S well.
Remember it’s important to regularly monitor and review your H&S practises across the whole business including out on-site. This will help you to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for all and continually look for areas of improvement.