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Having a clear set of occupational health and safety (OHS) policies and procedures not only provides direction on what is expected in the workplace, but also how these expectations will be achieved to keep a workplace safe.
An occupational health and safety policy is a statement that communicates an organisation’s commitment to OHS. For information on OHS policies, please refer to our OHS Policy page.
A procedure is a tool explaining the step-by-step process of how a task can be done safely. Developing procedures must be a consultative process between employers and employees. OHS documentation should always be kept up to date and easily accessible. The number and type of procedures required for a workplace will differ based on the type of tasks undertaken and the level of risk. Common OHS procedures include:
- Resolving work health and safety (WHS) issues
- Consulting with workers on WHS
- Monitoring workers’ health and workplace conditions
- Providing information and training
WorkSafe Victoria states that procedures should be in writing to provide clarity and certainty in the workplace and demonstrate compliance with the relevant Act in that jurisdiction. Roles of health and safety representatives, and any other workers involved in the procedure, should also be clearly defined.
Need more information?
- The Work Health and Safety Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination Code of Practice developed by Safe Work Australia is a practical tool with information on ‘when, what and how’ to guide organisations through the employee WHS consultation process
- WorkSafe Victoria has several helpful guides and checklists for Victorian businesses to develop OHS policies and procedures:
- Comcare Work Health and Safety Codes of Practice provides guidance on procedures for identifying, assessing, controlling and reviewing WHS risks
- Safe Work Australia’s A–Z of WHS guidance material
- Safe Work Australia A–Z of WHS information and fact sheets