The Safety of Safety Manuals- The Necessities of a Safety Manual

Employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace environment for their employees free from harm, health hazards, harassment, etc. Enforcement of workplace safety compliance is an issue that has gained increased attention from federal and state governing agencies.

According to the federal Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), an effective safety and health program can save as much as six dollars for every dollar invested. On January 6, 2012, OSHA initiated a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panel process to draft an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) rule. Wherever your business is in terms of a safety program, a safety manual is an important starting point for any company size. As a best practice, a company’s safety manual typically includes the following:

Supervisor responsibilities
Employee responsibilities
Reporting
Safety policies
Equipment usage/handling
Chemical/hazard handling
First aid • CPR
Safety rules
Documents
Disciplinary action
Accident reporting
Injury reporting
OSHA logs
Protective uniforms
Cleaning workspaces
Opening/closing items

Note: Twenty-four states operate their own OSHA-approved safety and health programs. Some state plan requirements may differ in certain aspects from federal OSHA. Regardless, state-imposed standards must be at least as stringent as the federal standards.

While OSHA is currently in the process of developing new standards of an IIPP, employers still need to adhere to their workplace health and safety obligations. So at a minimum, be sure to regularly review your company’s safety manual or consider establishing an IIPP. With the right information, the manual should help your business meet OSHA requirements and achieve an in-compliance status well before an OSHA inspection occurs.