Health, Safety, and Environmental Policies

Chances are, if you have been on a construction site for any length of time you have observed Health, Safety, and Environmental Policies posted at the worksite, in your lock up, or reviewed them as part of an orientation at some point during your employment.

But what do these policies mean in the real world?

An organization’s Health, Safety, and Environmental Policies outline the framework for the organization’s commitment to the Health, Safety, and Environmental Management System it has developed. It is an expression of an organization’s commitment to the programs including the commitment to meet regulatory requirements, identification of specific health, safety, and environmental responsibilities, acknowledgment of workers’ rights, and commitment to work in a spirit of consultation with all levels of the organization, clients, subcontractors, and the public where applicable to meet the organization’s objectives.

These policies can be found in various forms including:

  • Safety/Environmental Policies.
  • Training Policies.
  • Inspection Policies.
  • Preventative Maintenance Policies.
  • Hazard Identification, Elimination, and Control Policies.
  • Personal Protection Policies.

Health, Safety and Environment Policies should be:

  • Developed to meet the organization’s vision and objectives.
  • Relevant to the organization’s activities.
  • Reviewed annually for relevance and accuracy.
  • Reviewed with all staff annually to ensure the continued understanding of the organization’s commitment and responsibilities to these programs.
  • Signed by owners, CEOs, Presidents, and/or Directors.
  • Measurable and verified for effectiveness regularly through internal review or audit

In conclusion, Health, Safety, and Environment Policies will not be effective if the only objective is to meet external or audit requirements. Next time you are walking by these policies on a communication board or listening to them during an orientation or safety meeting, take the time to listen to how your organization expresses their commitment to their Health, Safety, and Environmental Management Programs.