A written company safety manual is a critical component of safety in the workplace and an effective safety compliance program. Providing quick access to the company’s safety resources, the safety manual clearly conveys all of the various elements of the organization’s safety plan as an easy to use guide and reference tool.
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Topics typically covered in the safety manual might include (but are not limited to):
- Statement of safety policy
- Accountability/safety code of conduct
- General code of safe work practices
- Specific policies and responsibilities
- Standard operating procedures (SOP) for safety-related issues
- Guidelines regarding personal protection equipment (PPE) and its use in the retail environment
- Ergonomics/lifting practices and other safe behaviors
- Ladders and scaffolds
- Merchandising safety
- Box cutter safety
- Pallet jacks and other equipment safety standards
- Racking and shelving standards
- Fire safety
- Regulatory agency inspections and guidelines
- Sample checklists, audits, and other reporting tools
- Sample accident reports
- Emergency procedures
- Emergency contact information
- Emergency evacuation procedures
- Safety training information
- Additional regional safety concerns (earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.)
- Additional safety resources
Manuals should be located so that employees have quick and easy access to the information. Hard copies of the training manual are typically kept in key areas of the store such as human resources, training areas, receiving, and the loss prevention offices. Many companies today also post their entire safety manuals online for their employees to access.
Written guidelines and procedures should be established to ensure that our employees understand safety expectations, appropriate practices are consistently exercised and uniformly followed, and all employees have the opportunity to make informed decisions regarding any and all processes relevant to safety in the workplace.
Safe use of equipment, safety guidelines regarding common tasks (lifting, stacking, cutting, etc.), weather (rain, snow, ice, etc.) safety, emergency contact numbers, emergency procedures, evacuation procedures, and other related safety guidelines should be clearly defined, plainly understood, and correctly managed to ensure the safety of our employees and customers.
Effective communication is critical to the success of any safety program, and establishing a useful and open exchange of information should be considered a top priority to ensure safe practices are conveyed and understood. By the same respect, it is important that employees feel comfortable in discussing safety topics, communicating potential safety hazards and sharing their ideas and suggestions regarding safety issues.
Employees need to be encouraged to make suggestions for improvements in workplace safety and hazard reduction. The company must provide the necessary channels to respond quickly and positively to those suggestions to show the employees that their concerns are not only being heard, but also acted upon.
Establishing channels of communication that allow information to be communicated effectively and consistently should be a primary objective. Information can be communicated any number of ways. Morning/evening associate huddles, general meetings, best practices/awareness program material, training documents, procedure manuals, one on one formal and informal discussions, intranet and internet are just a few of the common ways that these channels of communication are established.
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This post was originally published in 2017 and was updated September 5, 2017.