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An occupational health and safety (OHS) policy is simply a statement that communicates an organisation’s commitment to OHS.
It will state how your organisation, your employees, contractors and visitors are expected to behave when they are on company property or performing company-related activities.
Most OHS policies generally include:
- Aim/goals – outlining what the policy intends to achieve.
- Policy/responsibilities – the details of what needs to be done and how your organisation will put these actions into practice.
An OHS policy should align to the requirements of the OHS/work health and safety (WHS) Act in your state or territory.
For example, WorkSafe Victoria encourages employers to create OHS policies in consultation with workers as part of an ongoing conversation about workplace safety. A two-way dialogue allows workers to make a contribution while also reinforcing your organisation’s commitment to making the workplace safe.
Some of the benefits of creating an OHS policy include:
- Providing workers with specific details about what is expected of them. For example, OHS standards.
- Demonstrating your commitment as an employer to achieving high standards of OHS and compliance with the requirements of the relevant Act and regulations.
Employers can seek independent advice on how to create an OHS policy specific to their workplace, and there are many examples and free templates and samples accessible online.
Here are just a few examples:
- City of Melbourne – Sample OH&S Policy Statement.
- WorkSafe Tasmania- Sample Policy – Work Health and Safety.
- SafeWork South Australia - Seven Steps for Small Business fact sheets including a sample OHS policy.
- Comcare – OHS policy information.
- YMCA – Occupational Health and Safety Policy.
Need more information?
If you are a Victorian small business with limited OHS information and knowledge, and fewer than 20 employees or $1m in remuneration, WorkSafe Victoria offers a free WorkSafe OHS Essentials Program, which includes guidance on creating OHS policies and procedures. Find out more and register online.
WorkSafe Victoria’s Knowledge Centre is an information-rich online database of publications, fact sheets, forms and guides on all OHS and WHS matters.
Businesses in other states and territories can contact the government body responsible for the administration of WHS issues in their state or territory.