Safety Manuals

Establishing and following workplace safety manuals

Accidents can happen, but a safety manual can go far to prevent a serious calamity. Although you may be taking precautions, there are probably many required safety policies and procedures that you haven't thought of. Workplace accidents are a grim reality, and most of the worst accidents are attributed to human error or carelessness. You can keep the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) happy and your employees out of harm's way with a health and safety manual that is crystal clear and well thought out. Learn what to look for in a workplace safety manual, and where you can find a legally compliant document to protect your employees and yourself.

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What is a Safety Manual?

A workplace safety manual is a written policy that outlines safety procedures and identifies workplace hazards. It also provides a system for handling any safety issues that may arise. The law requires every employer to keep a safety manual that includes a complete injury and illness prevention program, along with details on workers' compensation rights. Health and safety manuals include legal responsibilities, fall protection and everything in between – there should be no question marks when it comes to prevention and procedures. It's important for everyone to be on the same page, so the manual should be updated and complete.

There are safety manuals to satisfy a variety of industries, but all good manuals will share some common features. To begin, the manual should name the person who will be responsible for overseeing the safety program, and how the program will be clearly communicated to employees. The manual must also document the type and frequency of safety training that will be necessary for all employees to ensure a safe working environment. Although these measures will seem like logical precautions, they are also officially required by OSHA.

OSHA Safety Manual

OSHA is responsible for refining and enforcing the standards for safe work environments across the country. If you're thinking about taking a gamble, think again: those who don't bother with proper safety manuals can face very steep penalties, time-consuming investigations or even lawsuits when accidents happen. For instance, if your safety violation results in the death or serious injury of an employee, you can be charged up to $70,000. To pass any OSHA inspection or review, you'll need to make sure that your safety manual is OSHA-compliant.

You can begin your search online, where you will find several services that offer safety manuals to be downloaded for a fee. However, be prepared to spend a bit more for inclusive and official manuals – it should be custom-made for your state laws and be up to date. Details in the OSHA manual can change frequently, so your manual should be adjusted regularly to reflect relevant changes.